(From left) Minos, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, and Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng at the earth-breaking ceremony of the project to upgrade the five roundabouts along the Kuching-Samarahan Expressway.

KUCHING: Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) chairman Datuk Peter Minos has expressed confidence that businesses will thrive in Samarahan in the next 20 years when the traffic problems in the area are resolved.

“With housing and property development coming up in addition to new government buildings, by 2030 Kota Samarahan will likely become a city,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

He said MPKS along with Samarahan residents and the general public were certainly very glad that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was going all out to resolve the chronic traffic jams in Samarahan.

On Saturday, the chief minister performed the earth-breaking ceremony for the implementation of traffic lights at three MPKS roundabouts and two within Kuching South City Council (MBKS) jurisdiction — i.e. from the Intan/Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) roundabout to the Stutong roundabout.

“The contractor was given the letter of award today (Saturday) from the Public Works Department (JKR) and works will start immediately. The project will be completed in 15 months,” he said.

He noted that during peak hours, it could take at least an hour to commute from the Intan/Unimas roundabout to the Stutong roundabout, while it took only 15 minutes during non-peak hours.

“It is the worst traffic jam in Sarawak by any measure, largely due to the rapid development in Samarahan,” he said.

According to Minos, the chronic congestion was further aggravated once the Batang Samarahan Bridge was completed, with commuters coming from as far as Simunjan, Sebuyau, Sadong Jaya, and Asajaya in addition to road users from Serian, Beratok, Tapah, and Siburan — all converging at the Intan/Unimas roundabout.

This, he said, was on top of local commuters from Samarahan itself living in over 40,000 residential homes.

“Fifteen months from now, with the completion of the five traffic lights, life will be much easier and better for all and the people will definitely be happier,” he said, while expressing the people’s gratitude to the chief minister for approving the traffic lights project.