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March 22, 2011

Land problems delay completion of Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch by a year

By ROSHIDI ABU SAMAH
roshidi@thestar.com.my

TAIPING: The completion of the Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double-Track Project (EDTP) will be delayed by almost a year due to land acquisition problems.

It was initially targeted to be completed by December 2013 but it would now be delayed to November 2014.

 Done project: Kong taking a close look at an image of the construction of the Bukit Merah marine viaduct for the EDTP during his visit yesterday. 

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said there were land acquisition problems, but did not elaborate.

“As at end of February, 65.2% of the project has been completed,” he said after inspecting a marine viaduct at Tasik Bukit Merah near here yesterday.

Kong said the marine viaduct, with a length of 3.5km, was completed on March 18.

“It is the longest double track marine bridge in South-East Asia,” he said.

Upon completion, he said the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch would have iconic structures such as the 282m-Prai Swing Bridge in Penang with a rotating mid-span to allow access to marine vessels.

On another related matter, Kong said the Gemas-Johor Baru stretch of the project was expected to commence this year.

“The Government hopes to appoint a contractor for the project soon,” he said.

The contract for the 250km Gemas-Johor Baru stretch is the only section of the EDTP yet to be awarded.

It was previously reported that the deal was expected to be given to China Railway Construction Corporation Limited.

On the Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands express bus crash that took the lives of 28 people, mostly Thai nationals, on Dec 20 last year, Kong said: “The panel of inquiry has briefed me on its findings.

“The report will be tabled in a Cabinet meeting soon.”