For past few days, there has been many news report about a replacement for the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex). Due to all the objections about Kidex which is going to be built above the ground, the suggestion was for the Kidex replacement is to be build underground. The reason is because no matter what happens, a new expressway has to be built to accommodate Klang Valley’s growing traffic volume. Today, reported in TheMalayMail online, the Works Ministry has clarified that there were no concrete plans for an underground highway to be built as an alternative to Kidex.
According to Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, the federal government was open to any proposal to increase connectivity and to manage traffic but whatever being proposed should have sound and viable financial and technical aspects and this includes even an underground tunnel. Replacement for Kidex is needed because the public transportation alone is insufficient. In fact even the buses would face punctuality issue because of the traffic on existing roads. Of course, the approval for any new expressway would have to come from the Selangor government. This is because land and development approval is under state jurisdiction.
Kidex is no longer part of Selangor’s 2035 structural plan and it has been cancelled. The reason was because the developer, Kidex Sdn Bhd had failed to meet necessary pre-conditions. An independent review of Kidex by MDS Traffic Planners and Consultants also showed that the project suffered from a poor planning process between various government levels. It highlighted the concerns for the expressway as it was also encroaching into residential homes and public buildings like schools and hospitals.
My opinion remains the same. Decision on whether to have or not to have this should be based on studies done and the reasons based on the studies done why the expressway is needed. Always remind ourselves, any expressway construction would take many years but Greater KL is growing extremely fast due to the urbanisation. If an expressway is needed, put all politics aside and push it through. As for the underground option, I think it will cost much more than a conventional one built on the ground or even above the ground. Higher costs simply meant higher toll rates. I am not sure if there are any developers with deep enough pockets to fund this.
written on 30 Sept 2015
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