ECRL gets green light for Kota Baru-Dungun line construction

The govt’s approval for Section A ensures the project’s time frame of the preparatory works and earthworks to start by mid-2020


THE government has approved the construction of the East Coast Rail Link’s (ECRL) Section A, a 210.4km realignment stretching from Kota Baru, Kelantan, to Dungun, Terengganu.

Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), the project and asset owner of the ECRL, said it has received a letter from the Land Public Transport Agency regarding the approval and that the portion of the construction will commence soon.

“The approval to the ECRL Railway Scheme for Section A would include, among others, the final alignment route, location of passenger or freight stations and the number of lots to be under land acquisition for the Kota Baru-Dungun stretch.

“In addition, a 14.4km future spur line is expected to link the ECRL mainline in Kelantan with the port of Tok Bali.

“The ECRL will now have six stations under Section A consisting of Kota Baru and Pasir Puteh in Kelantan, Jerteh, Bandar Permaisuri, Kuala Terengganu, and Dungun in Terengganu,” MRL said in a statement yesterday.

MRL said feedback from a total of 2,974 respondents was received during the three-month ECRL public inspection for Section A, of which 98% supported the Kota Baru-Dungun alignment.

“The remaining 2% or 60 respondents who objected were mainly land or house owners whose properties had to be acquired to make way for the project,” it said.

MRL chairman Tan Sri Dr Ismail Bakar said the government’s approval for Section A ensures the project’s time frame of the preparatory works and earthworks for the Kota-Baru-Dungun stretch to commence by mid-2020.

“With such confidence level, the ECRL base camps, coupled with its technical team and workers in Section A, are all geared up to deliver this section of the rail alignment.

“The ECRL heritage impact assessment and the environmental impact assessment reports for Section A have also received approvals, while the social impact assessment report is awaiting approval from the relevant authority,” he said.

On the total progress of the project, Ismail said the overall completion rate currently stood at 16% where certain construction works in Section B have been resumed for several weeks.

“The International Trade and Industry Ministry approved the application by China Communications Construction Sdn Bhd, ECRL’s main contractor, to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period,” he said.

He added that the Covid-19 impact on the progress of the project is currently expected to be minimal considering the construction works have already resumed.

“The progress of the ECRL project was slightly ahead of schedule when the MCO was implemented on March 18,” he said.

The 640km ECRL project is divided into three sections namely Section A, Section B (Dungun-Mentakab, Pahang) and Section C (Mentakab-Port Klang, Selangor), which is scheduled for completion by December 2026.

The rail infrastructure will traverse the east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang before linking with Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Putrajaya.

It is expected to reduce the travel time between Kota Baru and Putrajaya to approximately four hours.