Second north-south link
The proposed highway will complement the North-South Expressway. -NST
Malaysia, SEREMBAN: The government is evaluating a proposal to build another highway linking the northern and southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia to complement the North-South Expressway (NSE).
Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said yesterday that a viability study on the proposed project was being carried out by the Publ ic-Pr ivate Sector Partnership Unit (Ukas) in the Prime Minister's Department and the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA).
Shaziman was speaking to reporters after opening the Setul and Ampangan interchanges of the Kajang-Seremban Expressway (Lekas).
Lekas is the newly opened 44.3km highway between Kajang and Seremban.
Under the proposal, a highway would be bui l t between Banting in Selangor and Taiping in Perak at a cost of between RM5 billion and RM6 billion.
Depending on viability, the highway would later be extended to connect Banting and a town in Johor, believed to be Gelang Patah.
Shaziman said the Ukas and MHA were looking at it from all angles, including the businessmodel proposed and the projected toll rates and traffic volume.
The towns that could be connected by the highway were also being studied.
It is learned that the study would also determine the leakages that would be incurred by the NSE, as the authorities did not wish to see the operator, PLUS Expressways Bhd, adversely affected.
"At the same time, we also don"t want the concessionaire to be affected financially if the volume is low.
Right now,we want to verify the traffic volume.
"We are exploring the possibility, but we believe that there is a need," Shaziman said, adding that the study was based on a proposal made in the 1990s but could not be realised due to the economic slowdown.
The minister said new highway would see the emergence of new growth centres along the way.
On a separate matter, he said 10 accident-prone spots along the NSE and the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway had been identified.
He also said the ministry would propose amendments to the MHA Act with a view to giving the authority more bite when regulating highway concessionaires, especially with regard to highway maintenance.
He urged concessionaires to go "green" beginning today by ensuring that waste generated at rest and relax spots was treated before being dumped.
"This is to improve the quality and cleanliness of highways nationwide."
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