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By Jaythaleela K
BINTULU, July 23: Jepak and its surrounding areas including Bakun are positioned to undergo economic transformation once a new 1,283-metre long bridge crossing the Kuala Kemena river is completed 48 months from now.
The commencement of the project’s construction was officially launched yesterday by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Bintulu Esplanade.
The construction of the cable-stayed Bintulu-Jepak bridge is fully funded by the state at a cost of RM467 million.
Abang Johari regards the bridge as a Sarawak independence day ‘gift’ to Bintulu town and said the completion of the four-lane bridge would boost the socio-economic status of the surrounding areas.
The federal government which was supposed to undertake the project, had cut it due to lack of funds.
“The Sarawak government undertook the project because we are aware of the people’s need and we believed it would create economic spillover for the people there and its surrounding areas,” explained Abang Johari.
He is confident that with the completion of the bridge, Bakun’s attractiveness as a tourism destination would be boosted as well.
Earlier, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri James Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister disclosed the bridge was amongst four bridge projects promised by federal government but which had been suspended due to financial constraints.
“There are many other infrastructure projects which had been suspended or cancelled,” he said, adding that the state government had taken over most of these suspended projects at a huge financial cost.
Also present at the launching were Deputy Chief Minster Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Assistant Minister of Coastal Road Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Minister of Utilities Dr Stephen Rundi Utom. — DayakDaily