Penang CM reveals 56 conditions for controversial island highway

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow arrives at Upper Station as he launches the Penang Hill Festival at Penang Hill April 16, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow arrives at Upper Station as he launches the Penang Hill Festival at Penang Hill April 16, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 16 — The Penang government will be transparent in the implementation of the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) while addressing all concerns regarding the controversial project, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

He said the state will answer all queries on the project in a transparent manner “as many times as required” through all available platforms.

He then released the list of 56 conditions for the approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of PIL1 by the Department of Environment (DoE).

“Following comments by various stakeholders requesting for the conditions that follow the approval to be released, the state has summarised the 56 conditions as attached,” he said during a press conference on Penang Hill after announcing the upcoming Penang Hill Festival.

The list of conditions was also handed out to all media present.

Chow said the conditions received from the DoE will be made public at the discretion of the state.

The 56 conditions cover compliance on earth works, air, water, noise and vibration control and monitoring, construction waste management, risk assessments and control measures.

Risk assessments must be conducted before the project is implemented.

The DoE stipulated that an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) must be prepared and all approvals obtained from the DoE before construction works begin.

The EMP must include pollution prevention and mitigation measures and it must be approved before construction begins. It must also be updated from time to time if there are changes or amendments to the control and mitigation measures.

“All environmental mainstreaming tools must also be implemented,” it said.

The DoE also states that a registered auditor must be appointed to conduct environmental audits for the entire duration of the project.

Environmental audits must be conducted every four months during earth works and the construction of the project, while after completion, an environmental audit must be conducted annually.

An environmental quality report must also be sent to the DoE every three months.

The DoE requires that an environmental officer be appointed to take charge of the environmental management and mitigation steps.

Under condition 26, any blasting work for the project must obtain the approval of the mineral and geoscience department.

“The blasting activity must be by control blasting or delay blasting to avoid vibrations problems and rocks flying around the project site,” it said.

Finally, if the project does not start within two years from the approval of the EIA, the approval will be invalid.

PIL1 is a 19.5km highway that will form a second north-south spine road to improve traffic congestion on Penang island.

It will consist of 7.6km of viaduct sections, four tunnel sections totalling 10.1km in length and embankment sections totalling 1.8km.

PIL1, which links Gurney Drive to Bayan Lepas, will have six interchanges linking all major hubs.

It will integrate with the north coastal paired road, Gurney Drive paired road, Air Itam and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway Bypass, first and second Penang bridge, proposed third link and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

PIL1 is a component of the state’s ambitious RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

Chow announced the approval of the EIA yesterday and some civil society groups immediately issued a statement in response to protest against the approval and asking for PIL1 to be cancelled.

They also demanded that the 56 conditions be made public.

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