‘Colossal’ infrastructure projects will benefit Sarawak immensely — Masing

Artist impression of the Batang Igan Bridge.

KUCHING, May 16: The proposed Coastal Road Network and the Second Trunk Road projects are expected to be completed within the next five years.

The Coastal Road Network, which spans 896km, will connect towns such as Kota Samarahan, Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Kabong, Tanjung Manis, Daro, Matu, Igan, Oya, Mukah, Balingian, Bintulu and Miri to the Pan Borneo Highway.

The Second Trunk Road will link Kuching-Sibu with the Pan Borneo Highway through Jalan Sebuyau-Sri Aman-Betong.

“The Second Trunk Road, with a distance of 235km, will shorten the driving time from Kuching to Sibu from the usual 5 hours to two-and-a-half hours.

“These projects are expected to be completed within the next five years,” said Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing in a press statement today.

He assured that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led government was committed to improving infrastructure to ensure connectivity between major towns and cities in the state.

“Infrastructure development, as we all know, propels and generates opportunities for economic growth. The two colossal infrastructure projects — Coastal Road Network and the Second Trunk Road — undertaken by the Sarawak government under the purview of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation will encourage and boost socio-economic activities to raise the overall standard of living of the Rakyat,” he pointed out.

Masing, who is also a deputy chief minister, said the two projects would be implemented on an open-tender basis and funds are available to proceed with this RM11 billion initiatives.

“This open-tender basis enables the Sarawak government to get the most qualified contractor technically and commercially; hence, enabling the Sarawak government to save a total of RM600 million.

“The Coastal Road projects are currently undergoing the tendering process, while the Second Trunk Road projects are at the design stage and expected to be tendered by the end of this year or beginning of 2020,” he said.

The Coastal Road Network will cross nine major rivers, which requires the construction of bridges namely:

a) Batang Saribas Bridge (1,550m) expected to be completed in June 2023 with an estimated cost of RM496 million;

b) Sungai Krian Bridge (690m) expected to be completed in February 2022 with an estimated cost of RM174 million;

c) Batang Rejang Bridge (1,200m) including 17.5km Jalan Pasi/Tanjung Manis is expected to be completed in February 2023 with a total estimated cost of RM450 million;

d) Batang Paloh Bridge (1,700m) expected to be completed in February 2023 with an estimated cost of RM567 million;

e) Muara Lassa Bridge (2,430m) expected to be completed in February 2023 with an estimated cost of RM665 million;

f) Bintulu-Jepak Bridge (1,048m) expected to be completed in April 2023 with an estimated cost of RM572 million;

g) Batang Rambungan Bridge (560m) expected to be completed within four years from the date of issuance of Letter of Award with an estimated cost of RM142 million;

h) Batang Igan Bridge (1,800m) expected to be completed within four years from the date of issuance of Letter of Award with an estimated cost of RM305.8 million; and

i) Batang Lupar Bridge (5,100m) expected to be completed within four years from the date of issuance of Letter of Award with an estimated cost of RM866 million.

“The Batang Rambungan Bridge and Batang Igan Bridge were originally federal-funded projects but have now been undertaken by Sarawak government, while the Batang Lupar Bridge, which was originally based on a 50:50 sharing with the federal government, has also been fully undertaken by Sarawak government.

“Our aspiration for greater connectivity for Sarawak will be a reality once all these projects are successfully completed. This will also open up rural areas for further development and spur economic activities, besides narrowing the gap between urban and rural development,” said Baleh assemblyman Masing. — DayakDaily