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Preliminary works of the the Jelapang-Selama-Batu Kawan Expressway (JELAS) is expected to start next month and be completed by 2018, The Star reports. The new RM4.6 billion highway will start from the North-South Expressway (NSE) at Meru Raya and link back to the North-South Expressway in Batu Kawan.

Spanning a total length of 116 km, the JELAS Expressway is planned on unused land. Both north- and south-bound roads will consist of three lanes each. Moreover, the entire stretch of the expressway will have solar-powered LED street lighting. Furthermore, the expressway will see a three km tunnel, which will pass through the Bintang Mountain range – claimed to be the longest tunnel to be built in Asia.

It will have a total of 10 interchanges at Klebang, Kanthan Baru, Sungai Siput, Karai, Kati, Anak Kurau, Batu Kurau, Selama, Serdang and Lima Kongsi. Beta Mutiara Corp (BMC) group executive chairman, Tan Sri Bahadon Haji Ariffin said, “we plan to start our preliminary works, which is a survey on the final alignment and soil investigation next month.”

Sanctioned by the Perak and Penang state governments back in 2010, the project is said to be awaiting the final approval from the Public-Private Partnership Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department. “We are very confident of getting the approval. We are preparing for a launch of the project during the first week of next year,” the chairman said.

Bahadon noted that an agreement will be signed between the government to have fixed concession fares for the first 50 years. While the price of the fares have yet to be determined, this essentially means that there will be no fare hikes during the five-decade period.

Aside from boosting the economy of towns in the areas, the JELAS Expressway will ease traffic congestion on the NSE particularly during the weekends or holiday seasons.


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