GEORGE TOWN, Sept 3 — The Penang state government will be acquiring 20 plots of land to make way for a RM25 million underpass at the junction of Mount Erskine, Jalan Bagan Jermal and Burmah Road.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Secretary Datuk Addnan Mohd Razali said the lands must be acquired so that they can widen Mount Erskine Road and build an underpass to link to Burmah Road.
“It will be an open underpass with only a small portion of the tunnel at the junction between Burmah Road with Gottlieb Road,” he said in a press conference held to reveal details about the project after affected Mount Erskine residents protested against the project.
Addnan said construction costs for the underpass will cost about RM25 million and the city council will be spending another RM25 million to acquire the lands.
“We have already spent RM5 million to widen Brown Road as part of this project so the total cost of the project will be about RM55 million,” he said.
He said the lands, of about 4430 sq metre, will be acquired based on the value determined by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH).
“Usually the JPPH will recommend the land acquisition prices at 135 per cent of the market value and we will follow that rate,” he said.
He said it will likely take time for the Land and District Office to acquire the lands as 16 lots of the land were private lands while two belonged to MBPP and two belonged to the federal government.
He said land owners who disputed the land prices can bring their case to court.
He said the land acquisition is required to widen the road for drainage works and also to prepare a pedestrian walkway along the Mount Erskine Road and Burmah Road.
The Mount Erskine, Burmah Road, Jalan Bagan Jermal and Gottlieb Road cross junction is a main arterial road in Pulau Tikus that saw over 50,000 vehicles using it daily.
Addnan said the junction is often tied in gridlock due to heavy traffic especially during rush hour.
“The best option is to build an underpass to resolve this gridlock issue as we cannot build a flyover since there is a planned highway along Gottlieb Road,” he said.
He hoped the land acquisition will be completed in the next one to two years so that they can start with the project after that.