By Nigel Edgar
LUNDU: Works Minister Baru Bian is confident that the RM16.49 billion Pan Borneo Highway project will be fully completed in June 2021 as scheduled.
He also assured that the proposed highway would be toll-free.
“The federal government has agreed not to impose toll for the Pan Borneo Highway for Sarawak and Sabah.
“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government holds the same principle with Sarawakians’ aspiration to have the same connectivity infrastructure as their counterpart in West Malaysia,” Baru said at the opening of the Sematan-Telok Melano stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway today.
On the remaining 10 packages of the project from Sematan to Miri, Baru said the progress to date is at 35 per cent.
“The whole Pan Borneo Highway project involves the construction of 115 bridges, 25 elevated interchanges, three Rest and Service Area (RSA) and six laybys.
“I myself together with the top management of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transport and the state Public Works Department (JKR) have gone down to the ground during the FTRoadpedia Pan Borneo Sarawak 2018 tour to see for ourselves the progress of the project,” he said.
Baru attributed the good progress of the project to the close cooperation between the state and federal governments.
“I, as a Sarawak Lun Bawang native, understand completely the need and importance for connectivity for the state to be able to progress and for the benefit of the rakyat.
“This is all thanks to the close cooperation between the federal and state governments in bringing infrastructure development to Sarawak,” he said.
Once the highway project is completed, he said all places in the state would be connected, and this would be a catalyst for the rural areas to develop and stimulate the economic development of the rural areas.
He shared that the mammoth project employed some 10,300 Sarawakians, where 83 per cent of them are contractors, consultants, suppliers and vendors.
Baru opined that the initiative would not only open up more areas but connect the various industries along the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) areas, too.
“Apart from that, once completed, the Pan Borneo Highway will provide road users with a more safe, comfortable, quick and time-saving journey on the road,” he said. — DayakDaily