By Wendy John
SIBU, Dec 26: Motorists going home for the forthcoming Chinese New Year celebrations can expect a smoother journey on the Sibu-Selangau road which is Package 7 of the Pan Borneo Highway project.
Pelawan assemblyman David Wong, in speaking to reporters at the Open House of Sarawak Artistic Entertainment and Creative Association, Sibu on Christmas Day, said the contractors for that stretch of the highway had assured him that they would close nine of the 28 diversions.
“When they started building the highway, they had created 28 diversion roads along the Sibu-Selangau stretch from the old road to the new one as temporary passageways,” he said.
These diversions were created before the 2018 Chinese New Year. Since then, road users had been complaining of the poor conditions on these diversions which are dotted with potholes and uneven surfaces.
Other complaints included lack of proper signage and night vision reflectors. On top of that, some concrete barriers which had been knocked down due to road accidents had not been replaced.
A number of accidents had also occurred due to the deplorable road conditions.
“Sarawakians have been very frustrated due to lack of improvement on that stretch of the highway since 2018. We (local DAP leaders) have been chasing after them (contractors). We are angry and have been very vocal but still there has been no improvement on it,” he said.
Wong disclosed that he and Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang both went to the site on Dec 20, bringing with them Public Works Department (PWD) divisional engineer, Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd construction manager together with those from Hock Seng Lee Bhd, the main contractor for Package 7 of the highway.
“Instead of blaming them for the poor condition of the road, we instead sought for a solution from them to solve all these issues,” he said.
Wong said PWD had made a commitment to close nine of the 28 diversions on Jan 20 just before the Chinese New Year celebration which falls on January 25.
Besides that the remaining 19 diversions would also be closed before Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak celebrations.
“We told them that we want all concrete barriers be re-arranged, all potholes filled up and all diversion roads tar-sealed. There must also be sufficient road signages. Delineation lines must also be drawn up,” he said.
Wong added that he wanted Works Minister Baru Bian to make sure that the same approach be used for Package 8 (Selangau to Bintulu) which is also facing the same issues. —DayakDaily