By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 13: Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the state government was taking over Jiwa Murni roads, where small tunnels would be built on strategic locations deemed extensively used by heavy vehicles.
He said these tunnels would be designed to restrict the height clearance to a mere 4.2 metres to prevent heavy vehicles from using these roads.
“Jiwa Murni Roads (which are federal funded) are constructed purely for connectivity, serving to facilitate land travel for people living in rural areas. These roads were basically designed to cater for light-weight vehicles. However, over the years, we have seen the roads being continuously used by heavy vehicles. This has resulted in severe and extensive damage to the road pavement,” he said in his winding-up speech today.
With the state government taking over Jiwa Murni roads from the Defence Ministry, he said in the last three years, the state had made available a substantial amount of funds to help maintain and rehabilitate these roads.
Of the existing Jiwa Murni roads, he said RM77.4 million had been allocated to rehabilitate the 43.2km Miri-Marudi Road, which is expected to be completed in March next year.
A total of RM95 million has been allocated by the state government to rehabilitate the Belaga-Menjawah Road, which is expected to be completed by 2020, while RM18 million has also been allocated to reinstate and stabilise seven major road slopes. Work is expected to commence next month.
As for the 75km-Long Luping-Ba’Kelalan Road, Masing said the state government had approved RM45 million for the purpose. The procurement process is ongoing and physical work is expected to commence early next year.
Masing, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, said the state government was also determined to implement the much-awaited Coastal Road, Second Trunk Road and the Sebuyau/Lingga/Sri Aman/Betong Expressway.
On the Coastal Road, he said Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR) Sarawak was still processing the procurement, and physical work is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2019. The main components of the Coastal Road network projects are Batang Saribas Bridge, Batang Rajang Bridge including a 17km-access road, Sungai Krian Bridge, Batang Paloh Bridge, Muara Lassa Bridge, Bintulu Jepak Bridge (Kemena) and pavement rehabilitation and upgrading of critical stretches for the whole existing coastal road, where the total cost is RM3.49 billion.
Masing said the Sebuyau/Lingga/Sri Aman/Betong Expressway and the Second Trunk Road would serve to provide alternative shorter routes to the main trunk roads, Pan Borneo Highway and the Coastal Road network.
On the Second Trunk Road, he said the first section is from Kota Samarahan to Roban, while the last section, which is approximately 30km, includes the upgrading of the existing Jalan Kelupu/Jalan Tanjung Genting to Lanang Bridge in Sibu, while the Sebuyau/ Lingga/Sri Aman/ Betong Expressway is approximately 94km of single carriageway highway.
On the three bridges across Batang Rambungan, Batang Igan and Batang Lupar, Masing said his ministry had appealed to the federal government to bear full cost for the first two bridges, while Sarawak and the federal government share equally the cost to construct the Batang Lupar Bridge.
At this stage, the state government would be funding the building of the Batang Rambungan Bridge and Batang Igan Bridge, while it is still negotiating with the federal government on the Batang Lupar Bridge.
“However, during a briefing by JKR Sarawak to the Minister of Works on Batang Lupar Bridge on Nov 6, 2018, it was proposed that the Sarawak Government proceed with the construction of the Batang Lupar Bridge using the existing Sarawak 11th Malaysia Plan ceiling of RM150 million.
“It was also proposed that the federal government will fund this project under the 12th Malaysia Plan and to reimburse all expenditure borne by the Sarawak Government. It is my earnest hope that the federal government will honour the 50:50 partnership financing agreement for the project,” he said.
As for the bridge design, he said it had been proposed that the concept of an iconic cable-stayed bridge be maintained as it could serve as a tourist attraction and would stand out as a magnificent landmark.
The estimated total cost for the cable-stayed bridge is RM866 million as compared to RM778 million for a balanced cantilever bridge.
“Since the federal government had insisted that the bridge be a balanced cantilever one, it is then proposed that the 50:50 shared reimbursable formula be applied to this construction cost only, which is about RM800 million.
“Hence, the federal government will have to contribute RM400 million. If the Sarawak government is to proceed with the cable-stayed bridge construction, which costs RM866 million, the additional cost will be borne by the Sarawak government,” said Masing. — DayakDaily