KUCHING, Feb 21: The Pan Borneo Highway was categorised under List 2 road in referring to the existing bridges along the highway in accordance with the Weight Restriction Order (WRO).
According to the Works Ministry, the WRO of List 2 road allows a maximum load capacity of 38 tonnes and traffic is limited to six-axle heavy vehicles, while List 1 highways such as those in Peninsular Malaysia have a WRO of 53 tonnes and a capacity for seven-axle heavy vehicles.
The Pan Borneo Highway was listed in List 2 although the road grade specification, including bridges, was according to List 1, it said in a statement.
The ministry in responding to a news report highlighted in a local news daily, in which Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) questioned as to why roads in Sarawak, including the Pan Borneo Highway, were generally of lower grades than those in Peninsular Malaysia.
PSB said that it was grossly unfair to construct lower grade roads in Sarawak as the state had been a major contributor to the national economy.
The ministry also clarified that grades of federal roads were the same throughout Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.
“To ensure that people of Sarawak can enjoy similar development such as in other states across Peninsular Malaysia, the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project from Telok Melano to Miri is being upgraded in line with the current traffic needs and according to capacity of heavy load regulation under the Transport Ministry.
“The federal government, through the Works Ministry and its agencies, recognised the needs to upgrade roads in Sarawak,” the statement continued.
As such, the ministry emphasised that various road infrastructure development have been implemented in the state including the 425km Sarawak-Sabah Link Road, which will connect Long Lama to Long Pasia including road network to connect towns in the interior areas.
“As for the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project, it has been handed over to the Public Works Department as the independent consulting engineer on Feb 20, acting as the advisor to ensure specifications are met. Public Works Sarawak will function as the superintending officer (SO) and superintending officer representative (SOR).”
On claims that the federal government is cutting corners in implementing infrastructure projects in Sarawak, the ministry assured that allocation will not slashed to reduce the cost of the infrastructure projects implemented in the state.
Under Budget 2020 for Sarawak, the federal government has allocated RM4.4 billion for development expenditure, RM115 million for rural clean water supply project, RM285.6 million for rural electricity supply project, RM224.4 million to connect rural areas with roads and RM32 million special grant. — DayakDaily