The construction time for modern trams and BRT is significantly shorter than for LRT and monorail. Measured in months taken to build one kilometre for different cities; modern generation trams, based on our examples, take an average of 1.5 months per km to construct. Construction time for BRT is slightly quicker at 1.4 months per km.
On average the construction of LRT and monorail is much longer, with the LRT constructed at 2.8 months per km on average and 4.3 months per km for monorail in the examples in the table below. SRS have indicated that the 26km Komtar to airport LRT line in Phase 1 will take 6 years (72 months) to construct, equal to 2.8 months per km, which is the same as the average of the examples we present. To construct a modern tram at grade over the same distance would take 39 months, twice as quick!
Laying a tram track bed
New technologies such as Alstom’s Appitrack automated track laying solution, can lay 80 metres of track per day on average (and up to 400 metres per day in favourable conditions).
Whatever is built, there will be significant disruption during the construction phase, and this will result in frustration for commuters, businesses, residents, schools and other institutions along the alignment. However, compared to LRT and monorail, the construction of a modern tram system would be far quicker and therefore this disruption would be minimised.
Below ground are a large number of pipes and cables carrying water, sewage, electricity and communications, providing services that are all essential elements of our way of life. Utility pipes may be placed anywhere in the street, with sewers and large items generally to be found under the road, with smaller cables in the footway, road reserves or centre of the road. Our roads serve as linear corridors for these utilities, and when new infrastructure is introduced it invariably affects these utilities by interfering with the access to them.
A tram track will normally consist of one or more track slabs, each of which will support a pair of rails forming a track. The underside of the slab will normally be at a depth of approximately 0.5m beneath the road surface. In comparison, a pier for an elevated guideway will require a piling depth of 3.5m. Sewers in Malaysia are typically found at 2.5m.
The International Association of Public Transport have recorded utility diversions typically amount to around 10% of the total project cost, depending on the extent of on-street running.
As SRS have highlighted, the Edinburgh Tram project suffered from problems with utility diversions. Audit Scotland’s Interim Report, published in February 2010, estimated that the final extent of diverted utilities for the Edinburgh Tram project would be around 50,000 metres, with the cost of this work contributing to an overall increase in project costs of around £67 million (RM400m) significantly higher figures than first anticipated. This is however just a fraction of the RM6.3bn budget proposed for the LRT, and construction labour costs, just like in Australia are significantly hifgher than in Malaysia.