KUALA LUMPUR: Fresh questions have been raised on whether the West Coast Expressway (WCE) will open in time for Hari Raya Aidilfitri as promised, following the collapse of a section in Klang on Saturday.
The collapse of the 110m section caused water disruption in 65 areas in Klang due to three damaged main pipes under the 223km highway project, which connects Banting, Selangor, to Taiping, Perak.
WCE Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Neoh Soon Hiong rebutted claims that the project would not be completed by Hari Raya.
He said the company would announce soon whether the deadline would be met.
He said the project’s physical work was almost complete.
“Physically, we are almost complete. The four packages are 95 per cent done, but the remaining work that needs attention will take some time as there are certain agencies that need to go through federal gazettes, speed limit gazettes as well as safety gazettes.
“WCE will make an announcement on May 20 on whether the project will be ready in time for Aidilfitri or otherwise.”
On Wednesday, the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) said the highway’s completion could be postponed as there was still work to be done to ensure the stretch was safe for motorists.
On the collapsed section, Neoh said soil movement was involved, adding that it would be best to wait for the investigation report to be completed.
“It is best that we don’t jump to any conclusion and start pointing fingers before we receive the investigation report.
“A consultant has been appointed to look into the matter.”
On the road collapse, MHA director-general Datuk Aziz Abdullah said there were standard guidelines that need to be taken into account in such instances.
“There is a standard guideline, based on the highway’s traffic rate indicating the number and type of vehicles that ply the area, which needs to be adhered to ensure a safe environment.
“The safety, comfort and function of the road for motorists are our priority.
“MHA hopes to have the four packages opened before Hari Raya, but only after safety measures are taken.”
He said packages under the project were the Hutan Melintang-Teluk Intan line (19.1km), Lekir-Changkat Chermin line (28km) and Changkat Chermin-Beruas line (16.6km) in Perak and the Selangor package, which only involved the northern part of the state.
The Banting-Taiping WCE project, which was initiated in 2013 and divided into 11 packages, was set to be completed by 2020, but was postponed to 2021.
It is understood that about five packages were scheduled to be carried out this year.
WCE is expected to complete work on the highway, which stretches from Jalan Banting-KLIA (B18) to the Tanjong Karang interchange (93.8km) in Selangor and from Jalan Persekutuan (FR5) in Hutan Melintang to the Changkat Jering Plaza Toll (139.2km) in Perak, this year.
It is jointly developed by the Public Works Department and toll concessionaire WCE Holdings Bhd’s West Coast Expressway Sdn Bhd.