Phase 2 Of EC Expressway To Be Ready By June 2012

326– due to the failure of the six contractors involved
– Phase 2 of the East Coast Expressway from Jabor, Kuantan to Kampung Gemuruh, near here, costing RM3.7 billion, is expected to be fully completed by June 2012.

Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said the construction of the 184km expressway was now nearly 70 per cent completed.

He said the expressway experienced delay of almost a year due to the failure of the six contractors involved to meet their construction schedules.

Following this, he added, stern action had to be taken against these contractors appointed by the Public Works Department (PWD) by terminating their contracts jointly.

“Phase 2 experienced delay also because of the sudden increase in the price of petroleum products in 2008-2009, which caused the price of building materials like steel to rise too.

“Hence, in the interest of both parties, we discussed to terminate the contracts and I myself held discussions with the Finance Ministry for new tenders to be called for the six packages of which the contracts were terminated.”

He was speaking to reporters after visiting the Phase 2 site, here Monday. Also present was Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

He said the Finance Ministry had approved for new tenders be opened from Monday until the end of this month, but with this, the construction cost of the East Coast Expressway was expected to increase by 15 per cent.

It is learnt that Phase 2 of the expressway project involved two segments — 64 kilometres (handed over to the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and managed by MTD Group, while the other 120 km were under PWD including the six problematic packages.

“The segment under MHA is expected to be ready by the end of next May while PWD has assured us that it would strive to keep up with MHA’s completion schedule,” said Shaziman.

Shaziman also said that for public convenience, the stretch between Kampung Gemuruh to Bukit Payong would be opened to traffic from June next year followed by the Kampung Gemuruh-Bukit Besi stretch.

“The government does not intend to charge toll on users of the expressway until Phase 2 is fully completed by June 2012.

“The Cabinet has not yet discussed the toll charges, but the public should bear in mind that the construction and maintenance costs will be taken into consideration when deciding on the toll charges.”

He said for the comfort of the expressway users, a number of rest ares would be built while the 10 exit roads to several towns along the way would be upgraded-Bernama