New Air Itam-Gelugor bypass to cut driving time by half

Driving time from Air Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is expected to be slashed by half by 2018 with a new 5.7km bypass.

About 70% of the dual carriageway will be elevated and the link provides for 70km/h speed limit.

It will begin in Jalan Kampung Pisang, between Air Itam and Bandar Baru Air Itam, and connect with the expressway in Gelugor.

Construction should begin in the first quarter next year, said Consortium Zenith BUCG chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli.

Zarul said this road would have three interchanges allowing motorists to get on and off from Jalan Thean Teik, Jalan Yeap Chor Ee and Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.

This road is one of three that the consortium is building before it completes the undersea tunnel between the island and north Butterworth by 2025.

“We are building the Air Itam bypass first because the current traffic flow shows an urgent need for the road,” Zarul said.

The consortium had initially planned to start with the paired road from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah.

“We will start on the Teluk Bahang road after we are roughly halfway through building the Air Itam bypass.

“The third road, from Gurney Drive near Pangkor Road to the expressway, will be the final one before we start with the undersea tunnel,” Zarul said after signing a memorandum of understanding with Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk S. K. Ewe yesterday.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng witnessed the signing.

Ewein Zenith will develop the 50-acre Wellness City of Dreams between Bandar Tanjung Pinang and Gurney Drive.

It will contain a wellness mall, business and specialists centre, resort and hotel and provideservices such as anti-aging, aesthetics and comprehensive regenerative treatments.

The land was awarded by the state government and Ewein Zenith is developing it to finance the three roads costing RM2.8bil and the tunnel.

Ewe described the project as “killing three birds with one stone”.

“We will have a wellness resort to enhance medical tourism, three efficient roads to ease island traffic and a tunnel to north Butterworth to bring new development there,” he said. - By The Star

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