You can soon hop onto the train from Penang International Airport to KOMTAR or take the highway to Gurney Drive in 15 minutes flat.
By Khalil Adis
With the Phase 1 of Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) now approved, the Pearl of the Orient is set to scale to greater heights.
Prior to the Malaysian general election, it looked as though the project will never see the light of day as Penang falls under the opposition state of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) while the federal government was run by Barisan Nasional (BN).
However, now that its former Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is the current Finance Minister under the Pakatan Harapan government, the project is finally gaining traction.
Here are six interesting facts on Phase 1 of PTMP
#1: PTMP exempted from major review
It is interesting to note that while other mega-projects such as the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL), High Speed Rail (HSR), Forest City, MRT Circle Line and Light Rail Transit Line 3 (LRT3) were under review, PTMP is the only one that managed to escape unscathed.
This is definitely good news for Penangites and for the property market as such infrastructure project will further boost property prices on the main island and on the Seberang Perai and Batu Kawan areas.
#2: Phase 1 to comprise an LRT line and several main highways
The PTMP estimated cost is around RM46 billion and comprises two LRT Lines - Bayan Lepas Line and Georgetown- Butterworth Line, three Monorail Lines - Ayer Hitam Line, Tanjung Tokong Line and Raja Uda Bukit Mertajam Line and one BRT Line - Permatang Tinggi - Batu Kawan Line.
Phase 1 of PTMP will comprise the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) project and several main highways.
#3: Bayan Lepas LRT line to have 27 stations (including three interchange stations)
The proposed Bayan Lepas LRT line will be about 30 km in length with 27 stations running from KOMTAR to the future reclaimed islands in the south.
The line will pass through important landmarks such as KOMTAR, Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) and the Penang International Airport as well as several established and planned residential townships and employment hubs in Jelutong, The Light, Gelugor, Batu Uban, SPICE in Bayan Baru, Sg Tiram and Batu Maung.
There will be three interchange stations - KOMTAR, Sky Cab Station linking it to the Sky Cab line across the Malacca Straits and The Light Station linking it to the George Town-Butterworth LRT line.
The LRT Line will also be integrated with the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal at the Sungai Nibong Station.
#4: Pan Island Line 1 to have six interchanges
Meanwhile, the PIL 1 is a new 20km highway to alleviate the heavy traffic load on the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (LCE) and adjacent arterials such as Pengkalan Weld, Jalan Masjid Negeri, Jalan Jelutong and Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
According to the Penang state government's website, "it is designed with six interchanges to link highly-populated areas and transport hubs on the island from the Second Bridge and the Penang International Airport all the way towards George Town, Paya Terubong, Bayan Baru, and Relau."
The six interchanges include LCE interchange, Awang interchange, Relau interchange, Paya Terubong Interchange, Utama Interchange and Gurney Interchange.
#5: A travel time of 15 minutes
Upon completion, PIL 1 will be aligned along the mountainous terrain of the island and will take around 15 minutes from between Gurney Drive and the airport, compared with the current 45 minutes under normal traffic conditions on the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (LCE).
Good news for drivers as the the 20km highway will be toll-free with limited points of access.
This it to ensure certainty in speed and travel time over the entire length of the highway.
The alignment along the mountainous terrain also avoids the possibility of congestions caused by future developments.
Funding will be from the sale of reclaimed land owned by the Penang state government
An independent analysis from yours truly