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Undersea tunnel feasibility study to be completed next month says Penang CM.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today said that the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel project which has dragged on for years since 2016 will finally be completed next month.

He said the state is expecting the full report to be completed by the end of September.

'We will wait for the feasibility study to be completed before we decide on whether to go ahead with the tunnel or to propose a bridge and get federal approval,' he said.

Chow said the study will be the basis for the state government to decide on the next status of the RM3.6 billion undersea tunnel project.

The undersea tunnel is part of an overall RM6.341 billion project that includes a three paired road project.

Chow stressed that the cost of the overall undersea tunnel and three paired roads project remained at RM6.341 billion and not RM20 billion as claimed by MCA President Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.

'The costs of the project, from the first agreement signed until the master agreement signed on August 2, still remains at RM6.341 billion.

'The cost of land, the size of land swapped for this project, from day one of the preliminary agreement until the master agreement, is still 110 acres in Tanjung Pinang valued at RM1,300 per square feet,' he said in a press conference at his office today.

Chow said the Penang state government had never given different figures and costs for the project and the lands that were being swapped in all of its statements and the agreements signed with project delivery partner, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC).

Chow said the agreement signed with CZC for the project was a land swap of the 110 acres and it also included a 30-year toll concession for the tunnel it was built.

As for the delay in the feasibility study for the undersea tunnel, Chow said one of the reasons it was delayed one to two years was due to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) investigations into the project.

'We also ask CZC to prioritise on the roads first and the tunnel later,' he said.

The feasibility study for the undersea tunnel was supposed to have been completed in 2016 but it was delayed till now.

Chow also said the first component of the project, Package Two, will kick off latest by October.

'We still need to sign construction agreement for each package before works can start so the construction agreement will be signed in September,' he said.

He said once the construction agreement is signed, works can start immediately.

There are four packages under the whole project.

Package One is for the paired road linking Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, Package Two is to link Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam, Package Three to link Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Gurney Drive and Package Four is the undersea tunnel linking Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam on the mainland.

CZC obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for all three paired roads which is valid until in November.

Chow said this was why CZC has until October to start work on the paired roads.

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Publication:Malay Mail Online (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)
Date:Aug 29, 2019
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