KUCHING: The state government will have to construct 11 major bridges to complete the coastal highway.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said once the government has built the 11 bridges, the coastal highway will be simpler – enabling road users to drive from Sematan directly to Miri without using ferry anymore.
He said bridges are those across Batang Sadong, Batang Samarahan, Batang Rambungan, Batang Lupar, Batang Igan, Batang Rajang, Batang Saribas, Sungai Krian, Batang Paloh, Muara Lassa and Kuala Kemena.
He said the cost of constructing the 11 bridges is about RM5 billion.
“Constructing just the bridges will incur a very big cost to us but what is most important is the whole area will be connected,” he told a press conference after the launch of the coastal road development seminar here yesterday.
Masing said the longest bridge to be built is across Batang Lupar, which is about 5km, followed by the proposed Batang Lasar and Batang Paloh bridges.
He said out of the eleven bridges, the Batang Sadong and Batang Tatau bridges are already completed while the Batang Samarahan is almost completed.
“We hope to see all the other remaining bridges to be completed by 2030,” he said.
Masing said the bulk of the total cost of the proposed coastal highway project would be funded by the state government.
He said that to implement the whole project, which comprises the coastal highway, bridges and the second trunk road – the state government needs about RM11 billion.
The whole stretch of the coastal highway – from Sematan to Miri – is about 900km long and is expected to be completed in 10 years time.
“What is important here is there are two sets – a coastal highway and the second trunk road, which share the same bridges,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Masing said the decision to implement to proposed coastal road, bridges and the second trunk road is a testament that the state government is earnest to enhance connectivity to boost the socio economic development along the state’s coastal belt .
He said it was also in line with the government’s aspiration to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the rural population in order to attain a developed status by 2030.
Masing said the second trunk road will completely link the state.
He noted that the development of the road is separated into three packages – Package 1 from Kota Samarahan to Roban, Package 2 from Sebuyau to Sri Aman/Betong and Package 3 to upgrade the existing road from Jalan Kelupu/Jalan Tanjung Genting to Lanang Sibu.