Some time ago, in August 2009, TRANSIT posted about the Kota Damansara-Cheras LRT/MRT line, which had then been announced by Prasarana.
Our posting “New MRT Line” aimed to summarize the information that we had at the time about the proposal for a rail line linking Kota Damansara to Cheras. You can see a summary (with updates & speculation) at the end of this post.
That LRT/MRT line has now been absorbed into the government’s proposed Greater KL/Klang Valley MRT network (inspired by MMC-Gamuda). These graphics show the route maps, then and “now.”
More details after the jump.
According to this article, MRT system aims to boost Klang Valley’s public transportation (The Star, 21 December 2010), traffic planner Goh Bok Yen is supportive of the Sg. Buloh – Kajang alignment to start the MRT project.
“This line creates a link with matured and established commercial areas like Mutiara Damansara, 1-Utama and Cheras.
“Sungai Buloh will have a huge development in the Rubber Research Institute, which is one of the major projects under the Economic Transformation Programme and the Greater KL.
“Kajang is certainly not to be overlooked too, as the catchment area is huge and also covers the southern part of Cheras.”
Goh also makes a very important comment later on in the piece, saying:
“Of course with just one line, you cannot expect to solve all problems as a project of this scale can only mean more phases to come.
“Bus resources will have to be restructured since the bus routes today are planned without taking the MRT into consideration,” said Goh.
We have to ask, which bus routes will be rerouted? Who will be responsible for re-routing the bus routes? Will the existing bus companies agree to these changes or will they see the MRT as a source of competition (as they did the LRT) and refuse to cooperate, leaving KL with little or no change at street level?
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar also expressed some of her concerns about the awarding of the project and the level of cooperation and information sharing between DBKL and others [TRANSIT: like SPAD, MMC-Gamuda, Prasarana, the public, wakil rakyat etc].
“My concern is only the lack of transparency as the public and all stakeholders should be adequately informed.
“During the public transportation workshop held by DBKL this year, there was no mention about the MRT [network] at all. [TRANSIT: Although SPAD did mention their own proposed MRT line in this corridor, there was no mention of this proposed MRT network – even though the Cabinet had already seen the MCC-Gamuda proposal in February 2010.]
“SPAD, as the supervising body, should have the power over the different phases of decisions made,” she said.
We actually believe that SPAD, Prasarana and DBKL should set up a completely new agency that will take over the responsibility for project management for the MRT network and at the same time, take over public transport planning, management and operations in the entire Klang Valley. We propose that this agency be named Rapid(for)KL. More importantly, we believe that MMC-Gamuda’s participation should be limited to contract works only.
Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai proposes that a facilitator committee be set up to help manage communications between the project manager and the public. TRANSIT believes that our proposed “Rapid(for)KL” Agency can fulfill this role and start by managing the public face of the MRT project.
That is what we think now. You can see what we wrote in our August 2009 posting in the quote below. Clearly marked “update” flags will show what we know about the updated line.
- Be a project in the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) from 2010-2014;
- Extend from Kota Damansara to Plaza Phoenix in Cheras; UPDATE – will extend from Sg. Buloh KTM Komuter station to Kajang KTM Komuter station!
- Cost approximately RM25 billion (according to current plans); UPDATE – The MRT network is projected to cost RM36 billion or more. We do not yet know how much this line will cost!
- Start serious planning and design works in 2010-2011; UPDATE – Planning & Design works have to start yesterday in order to keep with the 3-month public display requirement plus planning challenges, and even then (see below)…
- Start construction in 2012 with completion targeted for 4-5 years. UPDATE- The PM wants construction to start in July 2011. We have no idea how this will be possible based on the tight time frame and existing track records!
- Follow TNB, road and river allowances wherever possible to cut costs; UPDATE – Likely to continue, but there may be added tunneling!
- All public areas of the stations (including concourses, platforms and outside areas) to be fully accessible;
- Operate in a tunnel along Jalan Tun Sambanthan (from the Brickfields YMCA) and through KL, a distance of 5.9km. UPDATE – it is very likely that the line will not run through Bangsar or Brickfields and will instead run directly into KL, possibly via Jalan Parlimen or further north!
- Have an initial capacity of approximately 45,000 passengers per direction per hour;
Integration & Connectivity
- The line will probably be extended from Kota Damansara to Sg. Buloh (allowing ‘integration’ with KTM Komuter service and the Sg. Buloh Integrated Transport Terminal); UPDATE – The MRT will indeed be extended to these KTM Komuter stations!
- The line will connect to the Kelana Jaya line with a direct transfer at Bangsar Station as well as a less direct connection at the NU Sentral project; UPDATE – at this time we do not know where the connections with the existing LRT lines will be!
- There may or may not be a link between the line and the Kelana Jaya LRT at Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek.
- The line will connect to the KL Monorail at NU Sentral, with another less direct connection at Imbi station; UPDATE – We are no longer sure about this!
- The line will connect to the Ampang LRT, probably at Maluri station.
- Operate mostly elevated with a 5.9km tunnel along Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields (from the YMCA) and through the centre of KL and the Golden Triangle; UPDATE – The latest DBKL Master Plan suggests that the line will run directly into KL rather than via KL Sentral/NU Sentral!
- From Sg. Buloh and Kota Damansara to Petaling Jaya the line will be elevated. It will follow Persiaran Surian to Mutiara Damansara. Then it will follow the LDP to Bandar Utama and Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. From TTDI, the line will follow the Sprint Highway to Pusat Bandar Damansara;
- From Pusat Bandar Damansara the line will likely follow Jalan Ma’arof in Bangsar, Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields, and Jalan Raja Chulan in KL; UPDATE – This routing is likely to change!
- The current proposal is to have the tunnel start at the Brickfields YMCA but it may be necessary to tunnel through Bangsar given the hilly topography and the fact that this area is more residential (not to mention, “upscale”). Of course, the costs of construction and land acquisition will be significantly increased; UPDATE – As above, this might change given the possibility of directly entering KL from the west!
- The line will have a station at the NU Sentral project but will not be directly connected to KL Sentral. UDPATE – This may not be happening given the possibility of changes to the routing as described above!
By the way, if the MRT line does not go through NU Sentral, will the company have the right to protest to Prime Minister Najib, who clearly stated at the launching of NU Sentral that the MRT would pass through the site?
More importantly, how will Prasarana be able to push this project forward in 7 months? They need to have a 3 month public display period, and start arranging contracts for the 9 packages that the MRT network will be divided into.
Can they accomplish this before July 2011? Well, think back to September 2009, when Prasarana began the public display for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT extensions. At that time, Prasarana MD Idrose Mohamed stated that construction could start as early as April 2010 (7 months in the future).
It is now the end of 2010 and construction has been limited to minor pre-construction works. The bulk of the project has not started in earnest and contractors were only appointed in November 2010.
So let’s be honest – based on the ‘track record’ how can Prasarana and MMC-Gamuda plan for the line, complete the public display period, deal with objections, tender contracts, and start construction in only 7 months?