GEORGE TOWN, Aug 20 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state is hoping to push for the first highway project connecting Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam to start on September 1 despite the lack of a construction agreement.
The Penang lawmaker said the state is now in the final stages of pushing through the final design approval and the construction agreement to try to make the September 1 deadline.
“We may still be able to start the project by then as we only need to get the construction agreement ready and the final design verified by the independent checking engineer,” he said.
He said project delivery partner, Zenith Consortium, obtained the environmental management plan approval for the 5.7km highway in July.
He said Zenith had until October 31 to implement the project so even if it cannot start on September 1, the project can still commence at the end of September or in October.
Zenith obtained the Environmental Impact Assessment approval for its three paired road project in October 2018.
The paired roads are part of the overall RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.
The first paired road project to commence will connect Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam, the second is the Northern Coast Paired Road which connects Gurney Drive to Tanjung Bungah and from there to Teluk Bahang while the third will connect Gurney Drive to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
These are major roads that will involve land acquisitions, an underground tunnel for the third package and some portions will traverse hills behind residential areas.
Work on the undersea tunnel is only expected to start in 2023 after the three paired roads are completed.
Currently, the feasibility studies for the undersea tunnel is at 98 per cent completion.