GEORGE TOWN: A proposal to run Penang’s LRT line underground throughout the metropolis limits right here and hyperlink it to Seberang Perai through an undersea tunnel has left specialists cautiously optimistic.
Though lauded as a very good step to enhance public transport and save George City’s prized streetscapes, taking the road and stations underground could pose an engineering problem, they mentioned.
Lim Thean Heng, a former chief engineer in control of the Penang Transport Grasp Plan, mentioned an underground route would value three to 4 occasions greater than an elevated LRT line. It could additionally take longer to finish.
Lim mentioned tunnelling by means of George City, particularly within the neighborhood of the proposed Komtar station close to the outdated Sia Boey market, could be an engineering problem, as the entire space is made up of soggy soil combined with clay, and excessive groundwaters.
He mentioned the work could weaken the construction of heritage buildings and trigger partitions to crack because the groundwaters will should be drawn off to permit a tunnel to be dug out.
This is able to end in a decreasing of underground water ranges within the surrounding areas to maintain excavations dry whereas work is being carried out.
“An excellent instance was the excavation of the Prangin Mall basement throughout the Eighties. Cracks appeared in most of the surrounding heritage buildings. Most of them have been on bakau piles. These piles should be all the time submerged under the water desk, or else they’d rot away.”
On high of that, he instructed FMT, nobody knew for positive if any of those heritage buildings rests on pilings.
Lim additionally mentioned the bakau piles primarily used as a basis for many shophouses in George City need to be completely moist, failing which they’d deteriorate. He mentioned these piles would finally rot if the groundwater was eliminated.
Nonetheless, Penang Institute’s Ong Siou Woon believes going underground is critical and definitely worth the bother. She mentioned it might save the state from having to amass land above floor at hefty costs.
Ong mentioned the peak restrictions imposed because of George City’s standing as a World Heritage Web site make at-grade (highway degree) and underground stations the higher alternative.
She additionally mentioned an underground station would save George City’s streetscape and minimise site visitors congestion throughout building.
“Constructing a rail line is perhaps bothersome, so you will need to plan forward. If we plan effectively and hold a detailed watch, we are able to clear up the issues,” the city planner instructed FMT.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Farhan Sadullah mentioned an undersea connection between the island and Seberang Perai was a good suggestion, as a dependable public transport hyperlink was wanted to enhance mobility. He additionally mentioned each rail and highway can run by means of the identical tunnel.
“Integration to the community might be carried out virtually. I don’t see any large subject,” he mentioned.
Penang had beforehand agreed to the transport ministry and MRT Corp’s proposal for a few of its LRT stations to run underground, with a future cross-channel connection to Seberang Perai additionally within the pipeline.
Seberang Perai can even have an LRT line which is anticipated to run from Kepala Batas within the north to Simpang Ampat.