by S BIRRUNTHA / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
THE Ministry of Transport (MoT) announced that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will be improved and realigned to its original route, with an estimated construction cost of RM50 billion.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said his ministry has decided to change the alignment of Section C of the ECRL to the original alignment (Northen Alignment) proposed in 2016 until 2017.
He added that the new alignment known as the “ECRL 3.0” was implemented after taking into account the results of discussions with stakeholders involved in the ECRL project such as the state governments, federal and state government agencies, local authorities and industry players.
“The Cabinet has approved the realignment during a meeting on September 2 last year.
“MoT, as the party responsible for overseeing the implementation of the ECRL, found that the “Northern Alignment” would enhance the viability of the ECRL project and provide more economic, environmental and social benefits,” he said at a press conference on the progress of the ECRL project in Putrajaya today.
The minister noted that the Northern Alignment will involve the ECRL route from Mentakab to Port Klang via Bentong, Gombak and Serendah compared to the “Southern Alignment” which passes through Negeri Sembilan.
He said the ECRL 3.0 Section C alignment is estimated to cover 201km including 32.4km of deviation compared to the previous alignment of 185.5km (including 41.5km of deviation).
“This makes the entire line from Kota Bharu to Port Klang with the latest change being 665km long,” he added.
The Northern Alignment will involve the construction of seven stations in the long run with five stations to be built at the initial stage, namely Temerloh, Bentong, ITT Gombak, Serendah Baru and Jalan Kastam (Pelabuhan Klang) stations.
Meanwhile, two stations, namely Puncak Alam and Kapar in Selangor, have been designated as future planning stations.
Wee added that despite the ECRL being changed to the original route, the ECRL project as a whole can still be completed within seven years and commence operations in 2027.
“Currently, the construction of the ECRL is progressing at an encouraging level of 21.39% as of March 2021,” he said.