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Monday, June 9, 2008

2nd Penang bridge to cost RM4.3b

The Government has finalised costings for the second Penang bridge, setting the figure at RM4.3 billion.

Business Times learnt that the matter was finalised at a meeting held yesterday between the Finance Ministry, UEM Builders Bhd and China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC).

"The RM4.3 billion price was given by the government and both parties will now have to adhere to it although each had presented higher costings," a source said.

It is learnt that Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop chaired the meeting, which was also attended by Tan Sri Zaini Omar, who heads a task force for the implementation of the second bridge project.

The 24km second Penang bridge (of which 17km will be on water) will link Penang island and Seberang Prai.

UEM Construction Sdn Bhd - a subsidiary of UEM Builders Bhd - has named port builder and bridge construction firm CHEC as its main contractor for the bridge which will link Batu Maung on the island with Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai.

The source said in setting the final cost for the second crossing project, the government has taken into consideration the rising cost of materials such as steel.

"Both parties must come to an understanding on how they are going to work things out before they sign an agreement on the price," the source added.

It is learnt that the deal will be inked by the end of this month.

The iconic bridge, which will comprise 294 piers and 9,364 sections, will be the longest in South-East Asia and expected to be opened to the public by 2011.

By New Straits Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

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