Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: Once the bridges of Batang Paloh, Batang Lassa and Batang Igan in central Sarawak have been completed, the ferries that they replace and made obsolete will be relics of the past, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing.

He noted that the bridges which are components of the coastal road network will ease travel to and from Sibu, Mukah, Pulau Bruit, Daro, Matu and Igan.

“The Batang Igan Bridge project was a federal project under the 11th Malaysia Plan before it was shelved by the previous federal government. It is now implemented and funded by the state government.

“The state government has allocated RM1.2 billion to construct three major bridges to replace all ferries at Batang Paloh, Muara Lassa and Batang Igan.

“By the end of 2023, long queues at ferry points along Mukah coastal road will a thing of the past,” he said during the earth-breaking ceremony for the Batang Igan Bridge today.

Masing said the bridge projects in the region reflect the state government’s focus on the socio-economic development of the state.

“The coastal roads will make travel time from Daro to Mukah shorter to one hour 40 minutes from the current three hours.

“The government is building a new road which will link Kuching to Sibu via the Second Trunk Road (STR), the new way to shorten the distance to 210 km.

“The distance from Kuching to Igan through Daro and Bruit will be shortened to 385km meaning it will only take five hours from Kuching to Igan,” he said.

Masing said under the STR, the state government has allocated RM6 billion to develop 12 projects.

“One project is ongoing, one pending award and another five are awaiting the final appointments of the contractors,” he said.