Construction of Line 3 could start as early as 3Q19 — MRT Corp

Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 13): Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) expects to kick off construction of the third mass rapid transit line (Line 3) — estimated by analysts to cost around RM40 billion — by as early as the third quarter of year 2019, according to its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar. 

"As you know, the Prime Minister in Budget 2018 has announced that the construction of the Line 3 has been moved forward to 2025, two years ahead of the original 2027. And to meet this deadline, it is only sensible that construction of the Line 3 commences as early as possible," Shahril told reporters in a 45-minute media briefing at MRT Corp's headquarter today. 

"MRT Corp also wants the construction of the Line 3 to run concurrently with construction of Line 2," he added. 

Shahril said MRT Corp has set two milestones for the construction of Line 3: the first phase is expected to be completed by end-2025, and the second phase to be finished by end-2026.

Shahril also concurrently quashed speculation by analysts that no local contractors are seen to be fulfilling the technical experience required to bid for the leading contractor role to build, on a turnkey basis, and to provide financing to construct the Line 3, a circle line said to be the thirteenth urban rail transit line and the fifth fully-automated and driverless line in Klang Valley.  

"It is not true that local contractors are seen as incompetent to bid for the leading role in Line 3 jobs. I am in talks with capable ones almost on a weekly basis,  and to ensure smooth completion of the Line 3, local firms are allowed to partner with eight firms. Now, who says that our local firms can't bid for the leading role," he stressed. 

Previously, Nomura Securities Malaysia Sdn Bhd had said that the huge requirement to finance up to 90% of the total Line 3 cost — which could be worth more than RM30 billion for a minimum of 30 years, and sanctioned with a moratorium for the first eight years, in addition to relevant technical experiences — is likely to pave the way for foreign contractors to bid for the leading contractor role. 

Declining to reveal the alignment of Line 3, Shahril said MRT Corp is still in the discussion with regulators and the local authorities, particularly with the Land Public Transport Commission, to finalise the route, which will mostly be elevated and underground.

It was previously reported that the Line 3 will cover hotspots in the city centre that include Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Jalan Bukit Bintang, the Tun Razak Exchange, Bandar Malaysia, KL Eco City, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Mont'Kiara and Sentul.

Line 3 is also said to be integrated with MRT1, stretching from Sungai Buloh to Kajang; and MRT2, which will connect Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya via Serdang.

In a tender notice released early this month, MRT Corp said Line 3 is expected to span a total of 40km, stretching 32km underground and the remaining 8km to be elevated.

Of the total Line 3 stretch, MRT Corp said the underground portion is expected to boast 19 stations, while the elevated portion is said to feature 7 stations. —

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