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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

(The Star) Company offers third bridge with LRT as an alternative

GEORGE TOWN: The developer of the RM6.3bil mega project is offering a third bridge that comes with a Light Rail Transit (LRT) as an alternative to the undersea tunnel project.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive director Datuk Lee Chee Hoe said they were looking at having a bridge with the LRT beneath it across the channel between Penang island and mainland.

He said the feasibility studies for the undersea tunnel, which was 96% completed, was also “feasible” for the third bridge.

“Most of you have visited the Sydney Harbour Bridge where there is an LRT running below it.

“That could be an option as a link between the island and mainland.

“There are pros and cons of putting up either a bridge or an undersea tunnel. We will make the comparison and present it to the state government at no additional cost,” he said, when asked on the completion of the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel.

CZC is the special purpose vehicle of the Penang project comprising three main roads and an undersea tunnel.

The RM6.3bil mega project comprises a 7.2km undersea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Prai, a 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, the 5.7km Ayer Itam–Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and the 4.075km Gurney Drive–Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

Earlier, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said they could still make changes due to cost factors when asked whether an undersea tunnel or a third bridge would be built to link Bagan Ajam and Gurney Drive.

Asked whether building a bridge would be cheaper compared to an undersea tunnel, CZC senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who was also present, said: “Not really exactly.”

He said they had to take into account more environmental issues because “it is on the sea and the height of the bridge is a concern”.

“The distance is short and there will be ships passing through. So these are the issues to be highlighted to the state government.

“We are providing the option. Maybe the state may want to have the bridge without the LRT.

“It is up to them to decide whether they want to continue with the bridge or undersea tunnel,” he said, adding that the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel was expected to be completed by September or October.

Zarul Ahmad said the cost for the mega project remains despite the delay.

Asked whether they would get financial assistance from the Federal Government since it is now helmed by Pakatan Harapan, he said: “No. The former chief minister who is also the finance minister now is very kedekut (stingy).

“He will never concede to any kind of payment unless it is very necessary,” he said with a laugh during the interview at a hotel yesterday.