GEORGE TOWN, Nov 27 ― A large tract of the sea off the southern side of Penang island will be reclaimed as a means to fund the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP), SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd revealed today.
The consortium that was awarded the tender for the massive infrastructure project is now conducting feasibility studies of the area along the coast of Permatang Damar Laut under a proposed South Reclamation Scheme.
“Under the proposed scheme, we will develop two man-made islands that will have its own self cleansing system to prevent siltation,” said SRS Consortium's project director Szeto Wai Loong in a media briefing on the TMP together with local government and traffic management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
Szeto said the two man-made islands will be about 2,000 acres and 1,300 acres respectively, with additional areas that may be identified to reclaim another 800 acre island next to the two larger islands.
“People have noticed us conducting site studies of the area so this is what we are doing, we need to do detailed environmental, socio-economic and sea current impact studies on the area first,” he said.
Szeto said the southern coast was chosen as the most appropriate by internationally-reputed water environment expert Danish Hydraulic Institute because of its natural embankment, limited environmental sensitivities with no seagrass bed or corals, shallow waters and sheltered from the effects of tsunami.
The proposed reclaimed land will be wholly-owned by the state government and it will be auctioned to finance the TMP, he added.
Among the amenities planned for the proposed reclaimed land included a 5km beach, 25km coastal park, 30km waterfront and 700 acres of green spaces.
“We still need to conduct several months of preliminary studies along with getting public engagement on the proposed reclamation,” he said.
After finalising the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, the proposed project will be displayed publicly for public feedback by June 2016, he added.
The reclaimed land, touted to be a smart, green city called SRS Smart City, will provide land for housing solutions and also to allow for expansion of the industrial zone due to its close proximity to the airport and the free industrial zone of Bayan Lepas.
“The southern coast is already being developed now with housing projects being built along the area and since there is no more room for expansion for the industrial zone, the reclaimed land will provide the space needed for expansion which will further spur the state's economy,” Szeto said.
Other than the proposed reclamation to fund the TMP, SRS Consortium is also conducting preliminary studies on various components of the TMP that included an integrated highway system connecting roads and highways throughout the state, Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, a tram system within George Town and monorail at Tanjung Tokong.
Chow said SRS Consortium will be conducting monthly media briefing on the progress of the TMP as it rolls out plans for each component.
Currently, all components are still under the preliminary study stage.
The TMP is the state's solution to Penang's growing traffic woes and it is expected to be fully completed by 2030.
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