Travelling from Ipoh to Kuala Terengganu may soon take only four hours of scenic driving.
The “Eco-system Expressway,” as Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh dubbed the 306km Second East-West Highway, cuts travelling time by half from the present eight hours.
The Simpang Pulai-Lojing-Gua Musang-Kuala Berang highway, costing almost RM2bil, is an environmentally friendly single carriageway link cutting through the scenic Kenyir dam.
The new highway will also shorten the present Jeli-Grik route by 125km, joining the East Coast Expressway at the Bukit Payung interchange.
“We expect a robust growth in terms of tourism for Kenyir once the highway is opened to motorists,” said Idris after touring construction work from Aring to Pasir Pulau Bridge together with Tengku Seri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman, president of the Advisory Committee for the Terengganu Regent, here yesterday.
These include allowing visitors from Ipoh to make day trips to Kenyir dam and serving as a gateway for tourists from Cameron Highlands, Penang and Perak.
Idris said the highway would also be the first in the country to have viaduct underpasses serving as wildlife crossings.
The RM28mil viaducts along three stretches at Sungai Kembur, Sungai Kelempai and Sungai Purun are being constructed on the recommendation of the State Wildlife Department, as the alignment of the highway borders the National Park area and several forest reserves.
He said that Kuala Berang, once known as “Dead Terengganu” due to its sleepy hollow image, is now a potential boom town.
With such immense growth expected around Kenyir dam, Idris has asked the Central Terengganu Development Authority to form a Kenyir Ranger unit to safeguard the environment against poachers.
Source : STAR
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