BENTONG, Jan 13 — The alignment for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project has been finalised, including the route in Selangor involving Section C2 from Gombak to Port Klang, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.
Wee said he had signed the full approval for the C2 Line Railway Scheme yesterday which was submitted by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), as the owner of the ECRL project, through the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).
“The approval allows physical work in Section C2 to begin in the first quarter of this year as we do not want to further delay work to ensure construction of the ECRL can be completed on schedule by December 2026,” he told a press conference after visiting the site for construction of the Genting Tunnel, which in included in the ECRL route, here today.
Also present were Chief Secretary to the Government (KSN) Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, who is also MRL chairman, Pahang Public Works, Transport and Health Committee chairman Datuk Seri Norolazali Sulaiman and MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwish Abdul Razak.
According to Wee, the full approval of the C2 Line was given after three months of public scrutiny, since September, during which 12,652 out of 12,797 respondents or 98.87 per cent expressed support.
The protest came from respondents whose homes or lands are involved with the C2 alignment, he added.
On a related development, Wee said the government had set up a special committee to ensure the involvement of the local people and companies, as well as Bumiputera companies, in the ECRL project.
This is to ensure the benefits of the mega project could be enjoyed by locals, he said.
Asked whether the progress of the ECRL project was affected by the recent floods, Wee said the impact of the floods was not significant as the construction site was not affected and this allowed MRL and the main contractor, China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL), to send their machinery to clean up the impact from the floods as a corporate social responsibility (CSR).
On the Genting Tunnel project, which will be the longest rail tunnel in the country, Wee said excavation of the 16.39 -kilometre (km) twin tunnel would begin in March this year after the installation of two tunnel excavators, which are specially designed for hard rock use.
Work on the tunnel project is expected to take three years.
Wee said the China-made tunnel excavators were specially designed and had undergone comprehensive factory testing being brought to Malaysia.
The excavators arrived last July via Port Klang, Selangor, and will undergo inspections and a series of commissioning tests, including site acceptance tests before being allowed to operate, he said.
On the work progress of ECRL, Wee said it recorded a progress of 26.49 per cent as of last December, involving Section A from Kota Baru, Kelantan, to Dungun, Terengganu, and Section B from Dungun to Mentakab, Pahang.
Meanwhile, Mohd Zuki, in his speech, said the Genting Tunnel which crosses the Titiwangsa Range and with most of the 10km located in Pahang is the first ECRL tunnel to be excavated using the TBM method compared to the drilling and blasting method used previously. — Bernama