BENTONG : The construction of the Central Spine Road (CSR) from Kuala Krai, Kelantan to the East Coast Expressway Phase 1 (LPT1) junction here, is scheduled to be fully completed in 2026, said Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
The 306.8-kilometre (km) CSR project, at a total cost of RM7.3 billion, involved six packages with four, namely, an over 200km stretch, located in Pahang starting from Kampung Relong in Kuala Lipis.
“There were several delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue of utilities in several areas but we have regained our momentum to continue the construction so that it can be completed according to plan,” he said.
Fadillah said this at a media conference after attending a handover ceremony of Package 5 of the CSR from Raub to Bentong at the Mempaga Roundabout here to the Pahang government which was represented by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.
Package 5 is Section 5C, a 5.78km stretch from Kampung Asap to Kampung Sertik which started on November 5, 2015 and was completed on October 30, 2018 and Section 5D, namely, Bentong Bypass, which is 22.72km long, and completed on April 20, 2021 after work on it started on April 18, 2016.
Both the sections involved a cost of RM631.98 million and among the constructions were a two-way, four lane new road, an overpass in Kampung Lebu, nine bridges, roundabout in Mempaga and multi-level intersections at the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway and Kampung Benus.
Asked if the overall cost of the CSR project went up due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Fadillah said, to date, the construction cost was still in accordance with the original planning.
“The sections involved can be used from today, with the Bentong Bypass reducing the congestion on the existing federal road in Bentong town other than boosting accessibility and generating the economy in West Pahang area including the tourism and the small and medium industry sectors,” he said.
On the original plan of the CSR involving Simpang Pelangai, Bentong to facilitate travel to the south through Negri Sembilan without entering Kuala Lumpur, Fadillah said it would be continued in stages depending on the approval of allocations.
“The allocation for its implementation (to Simpang Pelangai) is not included in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) but it is included in the 2030 Highway Network Development Plan and can probably be accepted in the subsequent Malaysia Plans,” he said.
In another development, Fadillah said the ministry also approved an allocation to repair damages to the road to Cameron Highlands through Sungai Koyan, Lipis with the detailings to be discussed with the Pahang State Secretary Datuk Seri Sallehuddin Ishak.
Meanwhile, Wan Rosdy said the construction of the expressway, other than helping to boost the economy, could also reduce road congestion especially in the town of Bentong during festive seasons and school holidays due to an increase of vehicles heading to Kelantan.
“The construction of the project also facilitates local residents as the Bentong Bypass also shortens the travel from Kampung Mempaga to the town of Bentong to 12km or only 20 minutes compared to 30km prior to this which can take 45 minutes,” he added.