KUCHING, May 16: SUPP Bawang Assan chairman Robert Lau has joined the bandwagon to express support for the Second Truck Road projects to be implemented in Sarawak as the infrastructure was important to connect and develop the entire state, especially the rural areas.
He emphasised that the Second Truck Road will serve as an expressway that would compliment the existing coastal road.
“First and foremost the expressway will link population centres of Kuching, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Bintangor and Sibu. It will also reduce the distance between these places as compare to the Pan Borneo route.
“The first section links up Kuching, Sri Aman and Betong. This will reduce the distance between Kuching and Sri Aman by almost half and at the same time reduce the distance between Kuching and Betong by more than half.
“The third package upgrades the stretch of existing road between Sarikei-Bintangor and Lanang Bridge in Sibu turning the existing 31km single lane into a proper expressway,” he said in a statement today.
Lau was responding to Parti Sarawak Bersatu president Dato Seri Wong Soon Koh who had recently called the Sarawak government to re-examine development projects announced under the state Budget 2019 and 2020.
Wong, who is also Bawang Assan assemblyman, believed that the state government should put on hold certain projects such as the Second Truck Road as it was irrelevant and a waste of public fund.
Lau also pointed out that the coastal road is not a highway or an expressway and should not be treated as one or turned into one.
“It is a single carriage road connecting the coastal towns and villages such as Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Simunjan, Sebuyau, Maludam, Debak, Spaoh and Pusa.
“The coastal road should remain primarily a road for the local community. Many sections of the coastal roads have farmers planting on road shoulders and houses built next to the road. It is not safe nor suitable for high volume traffic and heavy vehicles,” he said.
The expressway, he continued, which never intend to serve low population density places along the route, will be the right thing to have as it serves as a highway linking population centres.
“The expressway will compliment the existing coastal road. Though traffic should not be passing through villages and towns, they should be diverted to a nearby expressway or highway. That is what the expressway is designed to be,” he added.
On justification for the cost of such project, Lau emphasised that any investment in public infrastructure that the people will use was good.
“Just because the road past low population density area does not mean it is not a good project as it is not designed as a country road linking up villages and longhouses.
“It compliments the country road and those villagers will also have access to the expressway via the country roads. I am sure the people staying at Debak, Spaoh and Sebuyau do not agree that the project is redundant and a waste of money,” he said.
He added it would reduce the distance between Kuching to Sibu as it will be a proper highway instead of a single lane coastal road.
“The alternative Pan Borneo Road is longer by more than 140 km. I estimate this expressway will serve a good half the population of Sarawak if we add up the people staying in Kuching and Sibu and all the towns, villages and long houses in between,” he said, adding that it would be a boon for the people and the economy. – DayakDaily