The Malaysian government has authorised West Coast Expressway Holdings for toll collection on the 233 km stretch of highway which connects Banting, Selangor with Taiping, Perak, effective immediately, according to the federal government gazette. The gazette states that toll collection on this highway is authorised for a period of 44 years, from January 15, 2020 until December 19, 2063.

Built at a cost of RM5.044 billion, the West Coast Expressway has 21 interchanges over its 233 km length, comprised of 11 in Perak and 10 in Selangor. The toll plazas for the WCE are located at Hutan Melintang, Teluk Intan, Kg Lekir, Sitiawan, Sitiawan North, Changkat Chermin and Beruas.

As of December, the WCE was at a 71% stage of completion with the opening of the stretch between the New North Klang Straits Bypass (NNKSB, or Shapadu Highaway) and the Bandar Bukit Raja (North) elevated intersection.

West Coast Expressway toll rates – click to enlarge

The West Coast Expressway runs parallel to the PLUS-operated North-South Expressway, and is expected to relieve the NSE of some traffic as well as to provide additional connectivity to towns along the west coast. Construction of the WCE was initially slated for completion at the end of 2019, however delays stemmed from land acquistion proceedings and route alignment plans by the previous government, The Star reported.

The WCE is also unlikely to be a target of the government’s plan to buy back highways, said West Coast Expressways Holdings CEO Datuk Neoh Soon Hiong. This is given that the government appears to be focusing takeover attention upon completed highways, and there are sufficient clauses in the concession agreement to protect WCE if a situation for a takeover arises, the report noted.