Monday, May 19, 2008

CM: Initial works on second bridge in advanced stage - The Star

May 19, 2008

Preliminary works on the second Penang bridge are almost completed.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said based on reports from contractors involved in the works, the construction of the new bridge could begin soon.

“Preliminary works like surveys, engineering designs, site clearing, soil investigations, basic construction and testing are almost fini-shed at various stages.

“The rate of completion is quite advanced. What remain are dredging works that are currently 34% completed.

“In this regard, we hope the Federal Government can speed things up in order for the main bridge construction works to be-gin in the shortest possible time,” he said, adding that investors were also interested in the construction phase.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference at his Komtar office after the state exco meeting on Friday, Lim clarified that the state was not questioning the Federal Government’s commitment on the RM4.3bil second bridge.

“It is the speed of the construction that we are worried about. We already know the bridge will not be completed on time,” he said.

The second link, scheduled to be completed on Jan 1, 2011, has been delayed for nine months.

On land acquisition problems for the bridge, Lim said the Federal Government had yet to communicate with the state on the issue.

On drawing up a state crisis management plan, he said the state was concerned of the need to react to disasters quickly and state Health, Welfare and Caring Society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh was working on a state emergency contingency plan.

“One of the new measures by the state is to test the response of relevant relief authorities to disaster by instructing them to distribute financial aid to victims within 24 hours after a disaster.

“This was not done in the past. We are trying to accomplish this in this administration,” he said.

Lim also commented on the billion-ringgit mixed integrated de-velopment project Gurney Paragon, which the Penang Heritage Trust was against, saying the project did not have a traffic dispersal system.

Lim said he sympathised with the Penang Heritage Trust chairman Dr Choong Sim Poey but the approvals for the project were given by the previous administration and thought he (Dr Choong) had exhausted all avenues after PHT’s appeal to the Planning Ap-peals Board was dismissed in March.

He also welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to form a high-powered committee to look into the country’s shortage of gas supply and find solutions at the shortest possible time.

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