Bypass half way to 2025 completion

The 6km stretch will be toll-free and ease traffic congestion in the most densely populated areas on the island. — Photo CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

Saturday, 30 Mar 2024

CONSTRUCTION of Package Two of Penang’s Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass project is 50% complete.

With land acquisition matters resolved, the schedule is well under way to be completed in 2025.

State infrastructure, transport and digital committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said 50.28% had been completed as of late February.

“The scheduled completion was supposed to be 57.26%, but a delay was caused by the acquisition of private land, cemetery relocation and getting permission for the use of federal land.

“All these have now been resolved and the contractor is catching up. The difference in progress is a few months, but it is possible to catch up,” he said.

Package Two is divided into six sections.

Zairil said Section Five was being carried out, involving utility relocation works, installation of reinforced earth wall, and bridge construction works.

“A total of four bridges will be constructed for Section Five. Piling work for Bridge Four, the Jalan Akuarium crossing, has been completed.

“As for the remaining bridges, piling work is scheduled to commence this week.

“With regards to Section Six, we are planning and commencing the piloting work,” he added.

Zairil said there would be road closures from time to time to facilitate the installation of major components such as beams and cross-head launchings.

“The road closures will be implemented in adherence to the traffic management plan,” he said.

Paya Terubong assemblyman Wong Hon Wai said he was working closely with the project’s civil engineers and contractors on the road closures to notify the public.

He said he had been giving updates to residents and road users, and cited the example of the closure along Lebuhraya Thean Teik, beside Desa Intan and Tanjung Court.

“The closure was supposed to be on March 21 and 22, from 10pm to 5am, but a few dates were added.

“Part of the road was then closed from March 25 to 27, from 10pm to 5am. This was to resolve technical issues and to continue cross-head launching works,” he said, adding that alternative routes were provided.

“The current 40-minute drive from Bandar Baru Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway will soon be significantly reduced to less than 10 minutes after the highway is completed,” said Wong.

“The highway will be toll-free and will ease traffic congestion in the most densely populated areas on the island – Bandar Baru Air Itam and Paya Terubong.

“Residents will be able to reach the Bayan Lepas Industrial Area and head towards the Penang Bridge quicker, especially if they work in those areas.

“This will help ease the traffic congestion in Batu Lanchang and Jelutong,” he noted.

Package Two is among four packages under the three major road and tunnel projects awarded to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd in September 2013.

The 6km toll-free road will have a 1.8km ground-level stretch while other stretches will be elevated, such as through viaduct structures (65%), tunnels (20%) and grade sections (15%).

Package Two’s alignment and two other road projects are part of the island traffic dispersal system of the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel, a 6.5km tunnel in the seabed between Gurney Drive on the island and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth.

The bypass will consist of three interchanges: Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Jalan Bukit Gambir-Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah Junction, and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, which will involve a “left-in, left-out” access and an elevated U-turn.

The bypass is expected to reduce travel time and benefit Penangites in the long term, especially the 300,000 people living in Air Itam, Bandar Baru Air Itam and Paya Terubong.


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