Penang tunnel and related highways; a hiccup with Astral Supreme’s pull out

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Remember Penang’s tunnel project? The tunnel project which would include a 6.5km undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the mainland. There would also be a 12km paired road between Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang. This includes a bypass between Air Itam and Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu expressway as well as between Gurney Drive and Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu expressway. The total overall funding estimated to be RM6.3 billion and once project is completed, Consortium Zenith is permitted to collect toll for the undersea tunnel for 30 years at toll rates similar to the Penang second bridge. Current bridge toll for the second bridge is RM8.50 To those who are asking, why toll? Let me tell you this, honestly, toll is needed unless YOU are the one building it for charity.

tunnelThere is a small hiccup though. The main developer, Astral Supreme Construction is pulling out after saying that it was unable to find consultants who could undertake the project within the budget and funding requirements. Zenith PMC, the consortium said that Astral’s exit is because it could not fulfil its obligation which is to jointly manage, perform and carry out feasibility studies and detailed design of the project. It said however that the feasibility study has been done by professional consultants and is scheduled to be submitted to the Penang state government soon. Consortium Zenith includes the following partners, Ewein Bhd, Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd, Juteras Sdn Bhd and Sri Tinggi Sdn Bhd.

Personally, I think this is not a small project. In fact this project will be able to being lots of development to both sides once completed even if there are some Penangites who said that since the second link is not even used, why bother with the third one so soon? With such a huge project, the state government must really ensure that whoever appointed must have the expertise and the funding required to carry it out. Seriously, I am looking forward to the detailed plan as per what was announced by the Consortium Zenith. There has not been that many undersea tunnels throughout the world and to have one in Penang is quite special. Will update once the report is open to the public. Construction expected to start in 2016. 🙂

written on 21 Aug 2014

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