GEORGE TOWN: The Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) highway project, a key component of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), is likely to affect over 200 houses along the Sungai Kluang river reserve.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the project is also expected to affect one house located at Jalan Gottlieb.
Houses along Sungai Kluang are mainly squatter residences.
He conceded that the project would have an impact due to the alignment, but stressed that the state government will fulfil the proposal from the numerous assessments submitted to Federal agencies before approval is given for the project.
“Any project will definitely have its impact, but what is important is how to mitigate the impact.
“The studies done will address the impact and propose mitigation measures to be taken to minimise it,” he told the press.
He was responding to concerns raised by structure owners, who lamented that their properties would be affected following the construction of the highway.
The 20km PIL 1 is part of the three main roads which was included in the PTMP.
The highway is expected to reduce traveling time from Persiaran Gurney to the Penang International Airport (PIA) to only 15 minutes, compared to the current travel time of between 45 minutes and an hour.
Meanwhile, Chow said the state government would go through the project, section by section, in order to identify the need for land acquisitions and affected houses due to the implementation of the PIL 1 project.
“Next week or the week after, we will look at land acquisition... how many houses are affected and how they are impacted.
“Only then we will have a clearer picture on the affected parties,” he added.
Chow also hit back at claims by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that the state does not need highway projects in order to alleviate the worsening traffic congestion problem.
“Today it is not needed but 30 years from now we might need it. The question is, can Penang survive without a proper road network?
“Any views are welcomed since no contract has been signed so far. So take the opportunity to voice your concerns and our team will explain the matter to the affected people,” said Chow.