Forced Diversion Delays Kanowit-Kapit Road Construction

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing (centre) at the Kanowit Bridge soft launching ceremony.

KANOWIT: Diversion along Kanowit-Kapit road construction is the reason behind the delay said Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi.

Alexander said changes made to the 9.6km stretch linking Ngemah in Kanowit and Nanga Temalat in Song.

“Initially, the road supposed to go through the Ngungun Resettlement Scheme but there was not enough room to widen the current road. The 26 longhouses built there are just too close to the road,” said Nanta after the Soft Opening of Kanowit Bridge by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing yesterday.

He refuted claims by certain quarters that certain quarters who said the government deliberately delay the project for political mileage.

He explained, the construction of the Nanga Ngemah (Kanowit) – Nanga Temalat (Song) road of the Kanowit-Kapit road, has been divided into two phases.

The first phase is the construction of the 9.6 kilometre road Nanga Ngemah-Nanga Temalat and the second phase is the construction of 4.1 kilometre bypass which include a bridge crossing the Sungai Ngemah.

“The safety of the community along the road is our concern. With such close proximity to the villages, passing villages pose a serious threat to the villagers, especially children who wants to cross the road,” Nanta added.

Tender documents of the first phase have been prepared and negotiation with an identified contractor will be concluded in June, while the tender documents for the bypass project is expected by September this year.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak approved an additional RM36 million during his visit to Ngungun Resettlement Scheme on March 27 last year making the overall cost of the two phases a sum of RM150 million.

Nanta urged the people to be patience and the completion of the RM52 million Kanowit Bridge would uplift and spur the economic activities of the people in Majau, Poi and Ngungun.

Final touches on the bridge is ongoing and it will be open to public by May 27, in time for the Gawai Dayak celebrations.-