ECRL 11% completed including works on tunnels

The 648km rail link is progressing at an expected rate despite changes to its routes and key infrastructures

pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) completed 11.07% of the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) as of September this year as the government seeks to prevent any delays in the key rail project.

The 648km rail link, which was dogged by questionable costs, is progressing at an expected rate despite changes to its routes and key infrastructures.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said construction works for tunnels and staircases along the 223km stretch of ECRL between Dungun, Terengganu, and Mentakab, Pahang, are also in the running.

“MRL has resumed the land acquisition process for the Dungun- Mentakab stretch under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act, some of which have been previously gazetted,” he said in a written Parliamentary reply.

Loke was responding to Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s (Barisan Nasional-Besut) question on the current status of the ECRL project. Additionally, Loke said MRL as the owner of the ECRL project submitted the ECRL Railway Scheme in September 2019 for the Kota Baru to Dungun range to the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

“This is in line with the requirements set out in the Land Public Transport 2010 Act (Act 715) to obtain conditional approval for carrying out public inspection activities.

“The preparations of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Heritage Impact Assessment Report and Social Impact Assessment Report are also underway for approval,” he said.

He added that the public inspections will be conducted for three months for public review to the new ECRL alignment from Kota Baru to Dungun.

For the Mentakab range to Port Klang, MRL is in the process of submitting the railway scheme to obtain conditional approval from the APAD.

The ECRL, which originally had a price tag of RM65.5 billion, was cancelled when the Pakatan Harapan government came into power, only to be resumed on April 12 this year at a lower cost of RM44 billion.

The RM21.5 billion cost reduction has been achieved through a series of revisions in its engineering aspects and value engineering encompasses all aspects of project implementation.

The main results of this study were the ECRL alignment between Kota Baru and Dungun, and the border between Mentakab and Port Klang.

“This new alignment reduces the quantity of land treatment works and the number of tunnels and staircases to be built which in turn lowers the overall cost of the project.

“The new line from Mentakab to Port Klang through Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, has managed to avoid the Gombak Quadrangle, which is designed to be designated as a Unesco world heritage site,” Loke said.

He also noted that new stations have been identified in Selangor and Negri Sembilan.