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Editor’s note: The article has been amended to note that more than one consultant will be appointed for the design of the four bridges, and not as previously stated.
By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 22: The Sarawak government is in the midst of appointing consultants to design the four major bridges along the coastal highway, second trunk road and the Betong-Sebuyau Expressway, revealed Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
“Very soon, we will appoint consultants. These consultants have done it for us before. Then the cabinet will decide on the proposals made by MIDT (Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation). After that, it will be fast as the consultants have been with us.
“And all these projects will be based on open tender. We expect construction of these projects to start next year and would be implemented simultaneously,” Masing told DayakDaily at his residence here today.
Masing, who also a Deputy Chief Minister, said these projects could be implemented with the availability of funds from the state.
“I am a bit disappointed that the PH (Pakatan Harapan) government didn’t keep the promise plus the fact that the money they got from Petronas is from us, I know that. And that is a disappointment to me, but whatever it is, we will pay (for these projects),” he said, adding that the federal government had promised to reimburse once it has the means in the coming 12th Malaysia Plan.
Masing said the total cost of these major infrastructure would be about RM11 billion, and he hoped that they could be completed by 2025.
“By 2025, we hope to have a semblance of these highways that stretch from Telok Melano right up to Miri,” he said.
The four major bridges that are considered the missing links of the coastal highway consisted of Kuala Kemena Bridge, which will cost RM250 million, Batang Igan Bridge (RM200 million), Batang Lupar Bridge (RM1 billion) and Batang Rambungan Bridge (RM200 million).
Meanwhile, Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, advised motorists to be extra careful when traversing the off-road that connects Ng Ngungun in Kanowit and Temalat in Song as the 9km road is currently under construction.
“Those who use the plantation and logging roads must be cautious because the 9km road is still under construction. It is scheduled to be completed in August 2020,” he said. — DayakDaily