THE construction works of the Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass (Package Two) are ahead of scheduled progress and they are expected to be completed by the end of January 2025.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said, as of Nov 30 last year, the project’s actual progress was reported at 8%.
“It was 2% ahead of scheduled progress. The Package Two alignment is divided into six sections.
“Construction works commenced at Section One (Lebuhraya Thean Teik) with bore piling works for the ramp’s foundation leading to the mainline of Package Two. Further to this, utility relocation and road widening works will be carried out accordingly within Section One,” he told a press conference at the contractor’s machinery depot in Lorong Bukit Gambir 1 today.
The cost of the 6km-bypass was RM851 million.
The Package Two is one of the four project packages under the ‘three major roads and an undersea tunnel project’ in Penang, which was awarded to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Consortium Zenith-BUCG Sdn Bhd) in September 2013.
Following the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval by the Department of Environment (DoE) in November 2017 for the three major roads project component, Consortium Zenith Construction had begun the detailed design and the implementation of the Package Two project.
Chow said: “As widely reported in the media, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd’s majority shareholding was taken over by ECK Development Sdn Bhd in January last year (2021).”
“With this new management steering the project, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd has started to accelerate the implementation of the relevant works, namely the construction detailed design, preparation of land acquisition plans, procurement of authority approvals and commencement of construction.
“The Package Two alignment consists of mostly viaduct structures (65%), a series of tunnels (20%) and at grade sections (15%).
“Twin land tunnels will be built along the Package Two alignment – two at Section 2 and one at Section Three,” he said.
It is understood that the contractor would be using the drill and blast method for the tunnel construction.
Chow said the Package Two project required land acquisition like any other road projects.
“The land acquisition process involves state land, Federal land and private land. Land acquisition process is ongoing by the state agencies at several sections.
“Meanwhile, certain sections of the Package Two alignment will involve alternative design works to optimise public safety, environmental impact and the overall constructability.
“Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, as the design and build contractor, is finalising the alternative design works which will be reviewed by the state-appointed independent consulting engineering firm,” Chow said.
Chow added that upon completion, the Package Two project would be handed over to the Ministry of Public Works.
He said that the toll-free bypass would benefit the public with the reduction of travelling time in the area.
Earlier today, Chow, Penang transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng, Penang Infrastructure Corporation chairman Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, Package Two interim project director Datuk Yeoh Lean Huat and several other key personnel had a meeting at the Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd in Jalan Pisang Embun, Bandar Baru Air Itam.
The entourage also conducted a site visit to witness the progress of the construction work.
Story by Christopher Tan and Edmund Lee
Pix by Alissala Thian and Chan Kok Kuan
Video by Ahmad Adil Muhamad and Darwina Mohd Daud