Penang ready to study alternative option for undersea tunnel

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government is ready to study a proposal for a sea bridge, as a replacement for the yet-to-be built undersea tunnel, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.

Chow said they would first wait for the project contractor, Consortium Zenith Construction (CZC), to complete and submit its feasibility studies for the project, which also comprises three paired roads.

“This is merely their view. We will wait for the studies to be completed before we can comment further on this alternative proposal.

“But we are ready to study what has been suggested as an alternative,” he told reporters after witnessing the swearing-in of Penang Island City Council councillors here today.

Chow was asked to respond to the comment by CZC senior executive director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli on the alternative bridge option in the studies.

Zarul had reportedly said an over-the-sea bridge was one of the proposals, which would include an LRT track below the bridge, just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

He also said the long-awaited feasibility study for the tunnel was 96% complete and would be ready by September or October.

If the feasibility studies are favourable, he said, construction is expected to start as early as 2023 and will be completed in 2027.

The RM6.3 billion Penang tunnel-roads project was awarded to a consortium through an open tender by the state government in 2013.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth.

The “three main roads” stretch from Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (5.7km); Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang (10.53km); and Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.1km).