Wednesday, 9 August 2017

(NST) ECRL project to see construction of Malaysia's longest rail tunnel, measuring 17.8km

KUANTAN: The first phase of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will see the construction of a 17.8km tunnel from Bentong, Pahang, to Gombak, Selangor, making it the longest rail tunnel in Malaysia.

The Bentong-Gombak tunnel forms part of a network of 49km of tunnels to be built at 19 locations along the total 688km length of the rail, from the Klang Valley to Kota Baru, Kelantan.

Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said the construction of the tunnels, which forms the First Phase of the ECRL project covering 22 stations, are expected to be completed within the next four years.

He said tunneling work at the 19 hilly locations is expected to begin early next year. Most of the locations are in Pahang, with the remainder at border areas with Terengganu and Kelantan.

“Construction work on both Phase 1 and 2 of the ECRL project would be done simultaneously, including boring the longest tunnel in Malaysia (Bentong-Gombak).

"It will utilise tunnel boring machines (TDM) or drill and blast, depending on which is the most suitable according to the situation," he said.

"The project's contractor, China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) possesses the technological capability supported by the work force, including engineers and local employees, and is able to complete the RM55 billion mega project as planned (in the future).

He pointed out that soil work project to implement the rail network is complete and acquisition work began in June, and will take 12 months from now to complete.

“We foresee the project to begin later this year,” he said at a press conference after the ECRL launch ceremony by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kota SAS Central Station, here today.

Irwan, who is also the Treasury secretary-general, said MRL would also construct a number of bridges measuring a total 88.8km at ECRL locations that have a high risk of floods, especially in Terengganu and Kelantan.

"This project is for the people. The 688km rail track from Port Klang, Selangor, to Tumpat, Kelantan, would lead to a multiplier effect via shortening the duration of travel, cutting down rate of accidents, providing job opportunities and boosting income, and creating growth in terms of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) including business and logistics.

"We are thankful to the governments of Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Selangor who provided the best cooperation especially in terms of land-acquisition.

"It is our aim to ensure the project (ECRL) is completed earlier than scheduled so that the people can reap benefits as soon as possible," he said.

Present at the ECRL launch were Pahang Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Terengganu MB Datuk Seri Razif Abdul Rahman, Kelantan MB Datuk Ahmad Yakob,People's Republic of China Special Envoy Wan Yong, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, China's Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang, CCCC chairman Liu Qitao, and Kota SAS Sdn Bhd executive director Tengku Amir Nasser Tengku Ibrahim.