Construction work begins at Batang Saribas Bridge construction site.

Projects to be completed by 2024, says CM

BETONG: Travellers along Sarawak’s coastal roads will no longer have to wait for ferry services once the construction of bridges is completed in four years’ time.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said bridges and roads would connect all coastal areas to boost connectivity and remove the dependence on ferry services.

“Today (June 11) marks the restart of construction work on Batang Saribas Bridge and Sungai Krian Bridge which are part of the state’s coastal road network.

“Construction work on the bridges was put on hold following the enforcement of movement control order (MCO) in mid-March.

“Other bridges along the coastal road including at Muara Lassa, Kemena, Batang Paloh and Jalan Pasi (Rajang) are also in progress.

“All these bridge projects are expected to be completed by 2024,” he told reporters after his walkabout at the construction site of Batang Saribas Bridge and Sungai Krian Bridge here on Thursday.

Abang Johari explained that upon the completion of all the bridges except Batang Lupar Bridge which would be completed in five years’ time, motorists would be able to drive from Kuching to Sibu without the need to use ferry services.

“This will generate more active economic activities, especially in agriculture and improve mobility in the coastal areas,” he said.

However, Abang Johari stressed that the construction work must be implemented according to the new normal post Covid-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, Kampung Sessang penghulu Kamalludin Mohd Ramli described Abang Johari’s walkabout as a manifestation of the high commitment by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leader to provide better infrastructure for the people.

“The construction of Sungai Krian Bridge will enable the local community to connect to many coastal areas. The travelling time and distance from one place to another can be reduced.

“It will also allow the local community to promote their produce and generate better income. This will directly change the mobilisation pattern of the community compared to 20 years ago,” he said.

Pusa District pemanca Awang Raziee Awang Mohd Zain admitted that the construction of the bridges along the coastal road was something that the local residents had been wishing for.

“We are all aware that with the ferry services, the traffic became congested. However, with the bridges, the traffic will become smooth and the road users no longer have to wait for ferries.

“I hope all bridges planned by the government, especially Batang Saribas and Sungai Krian bridges can be fully implemented. Thank you to Abang Johari and the GPS government for the giant projects which will bring huge benefits to the people,” he said.

He also urged the government to actively develop Pusa which was elevated into a district four years ago.

The RM75 million 690 metre-long Sungai Krian Bridge is scheduled to be completed in March, 2022 while the RM375.5 million 1.7 kilometre-long Batang Saribas Bridge   is expected to be ready by June, 2023.

Also present was Infrastructure and Ports Development Assistant Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi.