IN a significant development, Penang has given the green light to include underground stations as part of its inaugural Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, signalling a departure from the initially proposed elevated stations.
Penang Chief Minister (CM) Chow Kon Yeow announced this decision following a recent presentation by the transport ministry and MRT Corp, the implementing agency for the LRT project.
The newly proposed underground sections are slated to be integrated within the heart of George Town’s city center.
One of these underground stations will serve as a pivotal interchange for a future undersea train line, envisaged to establish a crucial link between the island and Seberang Perai, the mainland portion of Penang.
“(The transport ministry and MRT Corp) have proposed to go underground so as to support a cross-channel link. These underground stations on the island would serve as interchanges (to the undersea train link to Seberang Perai),” he told reporters in Bayan Baru today.
He added that under the proposal, the undersea train link would be part of a future phase of LRT lines that would extend to the entire length of Seberang Perai – from Kepala Batas to Simpang Ampat.
Earlier in May, the federal government announced its decision to fully finance Penang’s ambitious 27-station LRT project, with funding channeled through MRT Corp.
This financial commitment also encompasses an extension of the LRT line, encompassing a stretch from Komtar to Tanjung Bungah. The primary Komtar station situated adjacent to the historic Sia Boey market will serve as a pivotal hub for the LRT network.
Initially estimated at RM10 bil, the cost of the LRT project was originally intended to be borne by the Penang government through land reclamation efforts.
Anticipated to commence later this year, the LRT project will initiate construction, linking Bayan Lepas near the airport to Tanjung Bungah. The entire project is expected to reach completion within a span of five years, according to Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook. – Aug 18, 2023
Main photo credit: Reddit