SHAH ALAM: Even as it is being constructed today, the much talked West Coast Expressway (WCE) already has a long history behind it.
In the past 20 or so years, the WCE project had gone through various phases – being shelved and later being revived again – but with muted developments moving forward.
Its alignment, which is the second longest in Peninsular Malaysia, was mooted then in 1995 by Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye who established Konsortium LPB Sdn Bhd (KLPB).
KLPB, which is today known as West Coast Expressway Sdn Bhd was the promoter of this highway project.
The WCE was awarded to KLPB first back in 1996 but later had to be shelved due to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.
After a number of years without any developments on this front, the project was revived again after an announcement in Oct 2002.
It was envisaged to be complete in 2005 then by KLPB but the entire project had ran into even further delays due to funding issues and potential shareholder changes.
The remaining 40% in KLPB was originally held equally by the state governments of Selangor and Perak but both governments had sold their interests in the company.
After further discussions and wrapping things up, the deal for the highway was finally finalised and sealed at end-2011 with government giving its official okay in the beginning of 2012.
The construction works for the highway finally began in 2014 at a finalised cost of RM5.04bil with land acquisition costs at RM980mil.
The concession period, which was initially at 38 years when it was first mooted, is now at 50 years with an option to extend by another 10 years.