KUCHING, August 1: Sarawak will build a border highway from Tebedu to Lawas once the proposed coastal highway and second trunk road projects are implemented, said Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
He told DayakDaily today that the state needed a border highway to protect its major assets such as hydroelectric dams and the gas pipeline from Bintulu to Sindumin, in Sabah.
“We have to take care of our major assets. With the implementation of the border highway, we can have better security along the border,” he said, adding that the border highway initiative was still at the planning stage.
On a related issue, Masing, who is also a deputy chief minister, said the state government intended to implement the coastal highway and the second trunk road — stretching from Kuching to Sibu — in the next 12 years at an estimated cost of RM11 billion.
This includes the construction of nine major bridges, such as the Rambongan bridge, two bridges across Batang Lupar (one at the mouth of the river and one near Sri Aman to link Betong, Saribas and Krian), and Batang Rajang bridge between Sarikei and Bintangor, Muara Lassa, Paloh, Igan and Kemena.
“The coastal highway will connect Sematan in the south right up to Miri in the north. When the whole project is completed by 2030, it will provide seamless drive for the people from Sematan to Miri and vice versa,” he said.
On the proposed second trunk road, Masing said it would about halve the current travelling time between Sibu and Kuching. The current travelling time by using the Pan Borneo highway is between five and six hours.
The second trunk road would detour from the Pan Borneo highway, starting from Betong to Sri Aman, Lingga, Sebuyau, Samarahan and Kuching.
“In future, we will have three major roads from here to Sibu, via the Pan Borneo highway, the second trunk road and the coastal highway. With these main spines of road system in place, the state will be further developed,” he opined.
Meanwhile, on the free ferry services fees to be implemented next year, Masing said officials from his ministry would ascertain the cost of its implementation.
Both subjects were mentioned by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during his session with the media yesterday. — DayakDaily