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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, March 27: The Public Works Department will be granted RM11 billion in state funds to complete the Coastal Road and Second Trunk Road projects.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said the allocation would cover the upgrading of the existing 896km of coastal road and building of nine bridges, as well as the construction of 232km of the second trunk road over a span of eight years.
The nine bridges under the coastal road network are Batang Rajang, with a total length of 1.2km, Batang Saribas (1.55km), Batang Paloh (1.7km), Muara Lassa (2.43km), Jepak in Bintulu (1.21km), Batang Rambungan (560m), Sg Krian (690m), Batang Igan (1.8km) and the mega Batang Lupar Bridge project spanning 5.1km.
“The coastal road network and second trunk road is set to provide Sarawak coastal areas ‘between’ access, as it offers seamless connectivity between towns like Kota Samarahan, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Kabong, Tanjung Manis, Daro, Matu, Balingian and Bintulu with the Pan Borneo Highway.
“The second trunk road will link Kuching-Sibu with the Pan Borneo Highway through Sebuyau, Sri Aman and Betong for better connectivity,” he said at the closing of the “Seminar on Road Technology and Technical Manpower in Sarawak” here today.
Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, added that the exact scope of construction and the upgrading, improvement, rehabilitation work for each of the packages for the above projects would be identified via technical workshops.
He said the implementation of the coastal road network would replace existing ferry services at Batang Saribas, Sg Krian, Batang Paloh, Muara Lassa with permanent bridges, as well as connect the missing link between Sarikei and Tanjung Manis.
“The project will improve and rehabilitate certain stretches of the existing coastal road network, as well as enhance accessibility and connectivity, while reducing travelling time through continuous, uninterrupted journey.
“This is also to boost socioeconomic development of the coastal regions, where large portion of the state population resides,” he continued.
Masing added that the second trunk road would shorten the travelling distance between Kuching and Sibu, improve safety and efficiency, as well as open new areas for development and capitalise on the Pan Borneo Highway and coastal road network to increase mobility in Sarawak.
Touching on the two-day seminar (March 26-27), which attracted 482 participants, the deputy chief minister said it aimed to promote improvement in the method of implementation of road and bridge projects in Sarawak, while providing exposure to participants on the latest method and technology in road and bridge design and construction.
The seminar also assessed the adequacy of relevant technical manpower for future infrastructure projects in Sarawak.
Twenty-four papers were presented by local and foreign experts throughout the conference.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg closed the seminar. — DayakDaily