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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

(The Star) Second phase of Jalan Harapan-Jalan Damansara link ready after numerous delays

The long-awaited Phase II of the Jalan Harapan-Jalan Damansara link project in Petaling Jaya is finally completed and now open to traffic.

It stretches from the SSTwo Mall to the traffic light intersection between Section 17 and Section 19 at Jalan Harapan.

With the streetlights turned on since Monday evening, motorists can now use the 1.3km-long road that saw numerous delays since the project started in 2013.

The project involved widening of the road and drains along Jalan Harapan to prevent flooding in the area.

It was stalled several times due to the inefficiency of the appointed contractor, other development projects in the area, including sewerage upgrading works.

There were also problems with the various utility companies which were required to relocate their cables and pipes to make way for the project.

One major relocation problem that contributed to the delay was the underground link box belonging to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said TNB wanted to charge the city council RM800,000 to move the link box, but the council refused.

He added that the initial budget allocated for the relocation was only RM100,000 and it could be done only if they appointed their own contractor for the job.

“TNB insisted that we can only use their panel contractors if we wanted to relocate the link box, that is why the reason for the delay in Phase II,” he said, adding that the issue on the pricing and appointed contractors was still being negotiated.

The RM15mil project, broken into three phases, might only be completed next year.

Phase I stretches from the former Rothmans roundabout (now traffic light intersection) to the SSTwo Mall while Phase III will be from the Jalan Harapan traffic lights to the Sprint Highway.

City councillor Jamaliah Jamaludin, who is working with the Engineering Department on the project, said the TNB link box actually supplied power to Kuala Lumpur.

“Due to the relocation issue and the high pricing given by TNB, we have decided not to relocate the link box at the moment and just complete Phase II for now,” she said.

Works on the third phase will start only after land acquisition issues are completed.

Phase II is equipped with guard rails on the road, and instead of the initial three-lane dual carriageway it will only be one lane due to the underground link box.

When contacted, a TNB spokesperson denied the claims made by Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain.

“We are ready to relocate the 300m-long underground cables and an earthing link box for about RM150,000 and this also includes cost for the equipment necessary,” said TNB in a statement.

According to TNB, they have also never made it compulsory for anyone to only appoint their panel contractors to carry out TNB works which includes cable relocation.

In fact, relocation works can be carried out by any contractor who uses equipment which meets TNB's specifications and is registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

On Monday, Sections 17 and 19 residents expressed concern over the traffic flow in their neighbourhood following the opening of the Phase II stretch.

Section 19 resident Tan Yew Leong presented a proposed traffic route during a meeting with Jamaliah and PJ Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian.

Tan said the proposed traffic flow would make it easier for Section 19 residents to get to Section 17, but his proposal would see the reversal of the one-way traffic along Jalan 17/21L, Jalan 17/26 and Jalan 17/28.

A Section 17 resident, identified as only Mok, disagreed with Tan’s proposal and wanted the existing flow to remain.

Mok also expressed concern about the expected increase in traffic and potential accidents.

“There are already a few motorists using Jalan Harapan, even before the road is officially opened.

“We had to get Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to place plastic barriers here to prevent motorists from rushing through, although that has not been a foolproof method as some motorists still barge through the barriers.”

A dialogue between the Section 17 residents and the authorities is expected to be held in a month to discuss on their concerns.

Jamaliah said Damansara Utama assemblyman Yeo Bee Yin had in May written to the Selangor Mentri Besar to blacklist the contractor for the second phase from future projects in the state.