All you need to know about the Penang Transport Master Plan project
What is the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)?
The PTMP is a key solution to meet the expected increase in travel demand in Penang over the next 50 years (2015 – 2065) from higher employment and investments, population growth and the booming tourism industry.
What are the benefits of PTMP?
- Reduce major traffic issues in Penang;
- Lower travel expenses;
- Reduce journey time;
- Create job opportunities; and
- Offer various modes of transport.
Without improvements to the current public transport infrastructure, road congestion will continue to deteriorate as Penang’s population increases. This will impact travel time and the overall quality of life in Penang.
Will the heritage sites in Penang be affected by the construction of the PTMP?
No, it will not. The Penang State Government recognises and values the importance of World Heritage Sites as some of the most unique places in the world because of the range of natural or cultural features and values that have stood the test of time. To ensure the conservation of the special characteristics and unique forms of architecture, culture and cityscape of the George Town World Heritage (GTWJi) Site, the proposed Bayan Lepas LRT and future transit lines wil accordingly be aligned around the perimeter of the heritage site and buffer zone. lIn compliance with the heritage guidelines, the tram line within the GTWH wil be at-grade (on ground).
What are the components proposed under the PTMP?
The PTMP comprises a public transport network, highways and roads that will be integrated with various modes of existing transport to serve the needs of the future population and support Penang’s economic growth over the coming decades.
Phase 1 of the PTMP will include the Bayan Lepas LRT, the Pan Island Link (PIL) 1 as well as the Penang South Reclamation.
When is construction scheduled to begin and will it be done simultaneously?
The Bayan Lepas LRT and PIL 1 are deemed as priority projects and thus major works are targeted to commence by Q3 of 2020.
What is the total cost of the project?
The initial cost has been estimated at RM27 billion. However, the actual cost will only be known once the PDP undertakes a detailed design and completes the tender process.
How will the project be funded?
PTMP projects are proposed to be financed by the sale of reclaimed islands along the southern coast of Penang Island. The Penang State Government claims full ownership of the reclaimed land and will carry out tenders to sell the land in the open market.
How will the proposed transport network improve connectivity?
The PTMP outlines a collective and holistic transport network that aims to improve integration with existing and future infrastructure as well as developments that are underway while incorporating a clear hierarchical approach in terms of delivery.
The identified corridors in the proposed projects will result in comprehensive transport coverage across both the island and the mainland. Among key considerations made in the proposed transport network are critical high-density residential, employment and commercial areas to ensure the highest catchment and ridership.
Importantly, while mass rail transit will form the major backbone for public transport in Penang in the coming decades, it will be well supported by a strong network of feeder buses to improve accessibility within the immediate catchment area of the respective stations.
How many property acquisitions will take place?
Studies are currently being conducted to identify the amount of property lots and tenants whose properties will be needed for this project. We will work closely, sensitively, and respectfully with all affected tenants and property owners throughout the acquisition process.
We will also be engaging with people whose properties will not be required for the project, but will be affected by its construction.
What is the tender process for work package contractors?
In line with the procurement guidelines, a competitive tender process will be carried out in an objective and transparent manner.
Will construction of the LRT cause traffic congestion along the, alignment especially on major roads?
During construction, a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) will be implemented.
The plan will involve diverting traffic to additional lanes, creating alternative routes and controlling and protecting traffic. The plan also takes into account existing congested areas and flood-prone locations. Traffic management teams will be deployed to control and monitor traffic movement throughout the duration of construction.
How will the public be informed of the TMP during construction and where can they go to complain about the project?
The public will be informed in advance through newspapers, the PTMP official website, pamphlets, radio announcements, respective ADUN offices and public notices which will be placed at mosques and community centres.
Any public complaint can be channelled through the project hotline, the official website or by walking in to the project office. The hotline and official website will be established and announced once the project has kicked-off.
What is the most convenient way for commuters located outside of the feeder bus service area to get around?
Commuters outside of the feeder bus service area may drive to the nearest station with a Park & Ride (P&R) facility and park their vehicles there. There are five stations along the alignment that provide P&R facilities with sufficient parking bays.
Will the LRT alignment affect the expansion of the Penang International Airport?
On the contrary, the LRT alignment will be integrated with the future expansion plans of the Penang International Airport. Among the facilities that could be expanded include the main terminal, training centre, multi-storey car park and the new low-cost carrier terminal.
When is construction slated to begin and when will the LRT be in operation?
The construction of the Bayan Lepas LRT is targeted to commence in Q3 2020 while operations are expected to start in Q4 2026.
The proposed LRT alignment will traverse through many schools. What measures will be put in place to safeguard children and parents during construction?
Construction of the LRT will not compromise the safety of the public. Discussions with the schools will be conducted and a dedicated TMP will be implemented for each school to comply to safety procedures.
Proper hoardings will be erected to prevent children from encroaching into the work areas. Machinery movement will be properly controlled, especially during drop-off and pick-up times.
Existing entrances will not be blocked and the movement of students will not be disrupted by any construction activities. Walkways and pedestrian crossings will be maintained.
The LRT alignment partially encroaches the cycling paths at some spots. Is it safe to ride under the structure during construction?
Access to the cycling paths will be maintained during construction period. Several cycling paths stretching along the LCE have been identified as being affected by the construction of LRT structures. These sections will be realigned prior to the construction work with proper concrete barricades to ensure safety to cyclists.
Why was the LRT chosen over other modes of transport such as tram or BRT?
LRT does not disrupt road traffic as compared to at-grade trams and BR Ts which take up road space. This means LRT has no risk of colliding with people, vehicles and buildings. Also to widen roads for dedicated tram and BRT lanes and stations require land acquisition which will lead to high social impact to the public. The cost for land acquisation is minimal for elevated LRTs. As land in scarce on the the island, the LRTwould be the most practical and cost effective solution.
How can I share feedback or concerns about construction activities and/or workers (contractor parking inconveniences, dust, noise, etc)?
Any complaint can be channeled through the project hotline, the official project website or by walking in to the project office. The hotline and official website will be established and announced once the project has started.
Will there be any Park & Ride stations along the LRT route?
There are eight stations currently in planning to be equipped with Park & Ride facilities.
Why is the State Government building more highways when we are supposed to be advocating public transport usage?
It is common knowledge that an increase in car ownership in Penang is inevitable due to fast-growing and increasing affluence among the young population.
As the State Government aims to achieve a 40:60 (public:private) modal share, road transport infrastructure is still required to cater for the 60% of private transport users.
Why can’t the State Government increase the quantity and operational efficiency of public buses instead of building more highways?
Increasing bus quantity without freeing up the roads will not increase the operational efficiency. Existing and future growth of private vehicles needs to be dispersed first to other road networks which have been strategically planned out.
Ultimately, the target is to achieve a 40:60 modal share for public and private transport via other efforts under the PTMP such as public transport and institutional strategies.
How will PIL 1 benefit the public?
Presently, Penang is only served by one north-south spine road – the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (LCE) Expressway which is perpetually congested during peak hours. PIL 1 is meant to serve as a second spine road to the congested LCE Expressway.
It is a new bypass functioning as a traffic dispersal system with five strategic interchanges connecting Gurney Expressway, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, LCE and the First and Second Penang Bridges.
In summary, PIL 1 is meant as an alternative to the LCE Expressway. PIL 1 will ultimately disperse traffic from the LCE Expressway, allowing for better traffic flow for both private and public transport.
The LCE Expressway experienced congestion not long after it was constructed. Will PIL 1 face a similar situation? How long can PIL 1 sustain traffic flow without being congested?
The LCE Expressway is not a highway with controlled access. There are numerous entry/exit points along the alignment as this is the only spine road connecting the north of the island to the south. Being underground and elevated, PIL 1 will be access controlled to cater for future traffic growth.
What tunnelling method will be used for construction of PIL 1?
The drill and controlled blast method will be used. This method is most commonly used for tunnelling through granite and has been adopted in Malaysia since the 1970s, including the Genting Sempah Tunnel (Karak Expressway) and Menora Tunnel (North South Expressway).
It is a safe and established method that takes into consideration all aspects related to ground movement and settlement.
What safety measures will be put in place for blasting works adjacent to residential areas?
Both the Department of Environment (DoE) and the Department of Mineral and Geoscience (DoMG) have set guidelines on the allowable vibration at sensitive spots such as residential areas due to controlled blasting works.
Blasts will be conducted in line with the allowable limits and trial blasts will be carried out before actual works begin to ensure full compliance to relevant guidelines.
Part of the PIL 1 alignment is to be constructed along a river reserve. What methods and measures are in place to protect the river during and after construction?
In line with DoE guidelines, the Land Disturbance Pollution Prevention & Mitigation Measures (LDP2M2) plan will be developed during the detailed design stage for approval.
In this plan, details of mitigation measures such as check dams, silt traps, silt fences, sand bag perimeter bunds etc will be designed to ensure existing rivers are not negatively affected. Besides this, the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) will also be submitted to the DoE prior to construction.
The EMP entails the type and frequency of tests to be carried out during the construction period. All test reports will need to be submitted to the DoE periodically.
What are the safety measures that need to be complied with to store and transport the explosives used during tunnelling?
Any storage of explosive material will be subject to approval by Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) in compliance to stringent requirements with regards to safety and suitability of the proposed locations.
Basic requirements include a minimum distance of 500 metres from any residence as well as armed security. The explosive material will be transported in small quantities to the site daily and any unused material for the day must be returned to the bunker.
What is being done to preserve historical locations such as Bukit Bendera and the Kek Lok Si Temple?
In line with the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP), PIL 1 will be fully tunnelled within the SAP boundary. This ensures that the beauty and serenity of Penang Hill is preserved. As for the Kek Lok Si Temple, the alignment is approximately 500 metres away from the temple and thus unaffected by the presence of PIL 1.
What are the benefits of PIL 1 to the public?
Currently, Penang is served by only one spine road which is the already congested Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (LCE) Expressway.
PIL 1 is meant to serve as a second spine and a new bypass functioning as a traffic dispersal system with six strategic interchanges connecting Gurney Expressway, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, LCE and the First and Second Penang Bridges. In summary, PIL 1 is meant to be an alternative to the LCE. PIL 1 will ultimately disperse traffic from the LCE, allowing for better traffic flow for both private and public transports.
What is the solution taken to preserve historical locations such as Bukit Bendera and Kek Lok Si temple?
In line with the Penang Hill special area plan, the PIL 1 Highway will be consist of tunnels within the special area plan boundary. This ensures the beauty and serenity of Penang Hill is preserved.
As for the Kek Lok Si temple, the alignment is situated appoximately 500m away, a more than safe distance for PIL 1 to be constructed.
What kind of safety measures for blasting works are in place for the adjacent residential areas?
Both the Department of Environment and the Department of Mineral and Geoscience have set guidelines on the allowable vibration at sensitive areas due to controlled blasting works.
The blast design will be developed in line with the allowable limits and trial blasts will be carried out before actual work begins to ensure full compliance to the relevant guidelines.
Which work Package will be first to commence?
The Major Roads – Package 2 (Ayer Itam to Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu-By-pass shall commence first, targeted to start by September 2019 which shall be followed by the Package 1 – North Coastal Paired Road (Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang) a year later. The commencement of Package 3 and Undersea Tunnel will be decided at a later date by state government.
What are the benefits to the public with the commence of the first road package under the PTMP, which is the Ayer Itam bypass linking to Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.
Alternative Route – This alignment provides an alternative route to reach the northern and southern part of Penang Island. At present, traffic traveling from Ayer Itam towards the south of the island predominantly utilize the Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu which is already congested during peak hours.
Provision of 4 Interchanges: Four interchanges at strategic locations to link highly populated areas between Ayer Itam to Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu. The interchanges are as follows:
- Lebuhraya Thean Teik/Jalan Thean Teik
- Jalan Bukit Gambir
- Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah
- Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu.
Save Travelling Time: Reduces travelling time from Ayer Itam to Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu from 40 minutes to 5 minutes.