By Nancy Nais
KOTA SAMARAHAN, Oct 24: Road users commuting daily on the Kuching-Samarahan Expressway and vice versa can look forward to say goodbye to severe traffic congestion that has been daunting them for years.
This is because the RM47 million upgrading project of five roundabouts to be replaced by traffic lights, starting from the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) Sarawak to the Stutong area has begun.
Three of the roundabouts are under Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) and the other two are under Kuching South City Council (MBKS) juridiction.
Contracted to Golden Matrix Sdn. Bhd. and supervised by state JKR, the project is scheduled to complete in 15 months from now.
Among the project components highlighted by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the groundbreaking ceremony today is the SMART traffic signal system.
He said the upgrading project was crucial to significantly minimise traffic congestion along Kuching–Samarahan Expressway.
“It will reduce traffic congestion along Kuching-Samarahan Expressway especially during peak hours, resolve traffic dilemma as well as provide convenience for the public by having alternative route that can shorten their travelling time.
“Apart from that, it is also a safer alternative road to cater for the current needs and future traffic demand upon completion of Batang Samarahan bridge,” Abang Johari disclosed.
He added that this will improve the socio-economic and quality of life at Kota Samarahan with smoother connectivity and reducing waiting time on the road.
Other main work components on the project includes new pavement structure; treatment to the existing pavement; construct road lighting, electrical service and variable message board system; construct drainage system, drains and culverts; construct road furniture including road signs, pavement markings and footpaths; and relocate the existing utility services.
Abang Johari acknowledged the worsening traffic situation between Kuching and Samarahan was due to the rapid development in the area.
“However, development is crucial especially for Sarawak. Twenty years ago, the population in Kuching and Samarahan was much lesser. According to statistics now, we have a combine 1.2 million people in these two areas.
“That’s why we have to upgrade our roads to dual carriageway, create alternative roads, build more bridges and so on. This is bound to happen sooner or later. It also means our state is developing well,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari expressed his confidence and assurance that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government will continue to develop Sarawak, not just in accordance with the changing trend but also the Sarawak style.
“We have our own resources, so we will use our way and new ways to build Sarawak to greater heights. If the people give me and GPS a new mandate, I can ensure that development will continue to take place,” he added. —DayakDaily