penang traffic

According to the main contractor for the Penang undersea tunnel, the proposed 6.5 km-long passageway will not be toll-free to ensure the Second Penang Bridge (Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge) wouldn’t experience a reduction in its traffic volume.

In a report by The Star, Consortium Zenith BUCG chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifliin said, “if the tunnel is toll-free, the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge will lose its traffic volume.

“Then the operator of the Second Penang Bridge may claim compensation from the Federal Government. As such, we will match the tunnel’s toll with the bridge to make it equal,” he continued. State Works Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng added that the tunnel toll would be for maintenance, repairs and operations.

The proposed undersea tunnel will therefore have a 30-year toll concession, and the builder would also be receiving payment-in-kind of 110 acres (44.5 ha) of land to reduce the loss of traffic volume to the operator of the Second Penang Bridge.

second-penang-bridge

The payment-in-kind of land is a departure from the standard concession agreement practice, whereby the concession firm is required to fund the project completely and collect toll to recover the investment once the project is completed.

Consortium Zenith BUCG had been awarded the right to build the tunnel and three paired roads on the island to handle future traffic arising from the link between the mainland and the island. The overall cos of the project is around RM6.34 billion, with RM305 million budgeted for project’s feasibility study, detailed design and environmental impact assessment. Meanwhile, RM540 million will be utilised for land acquisition and RM5.5 billion for construction work.

The undersea tunnel is one of the RM6.34 billion mega projects, which include the 4.2 km Gurney Drive-Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu bypass, the 4.6 km Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Bandar Baru Air Itam bypass and a 12 km road connecting Tanjung Bungah with Teluk Bahang.