KUCHING, May 16 — Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing today said that the state government is committed to improving road infrastructures in order to generate opportunities for economic growth.
He said this is the reason why the state government had decided to embark on the construction of the Coastal Road Network (CRN) and the Second Trunk Road (STR), which is estimated to cost RM11 billion.
Masing, who is also the state Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation said the two proposed road networks will connect all the towns and cities in Sarawak.
“The road networks, when completed, will encourage and boost socio-economic activities that will raise the overall standard of the people,” he said after handing over minor rural projects (MRP) funds to 39 organisations and charitable bodies at his office here.
Masing said CRN, which spans over a distance of 896km, will connect Kota Samarahan, Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Kabong, Tanjung Manis, Daro, Matu, Igan, Oya, Mukah, Balingian, Bintulu and Miri to the Pan Borneo Highway.
While the STR will link Kuching-Sibu with the Pan Borneo Highway through Sebuyau-Sri Aman-Betong road.
“STR with a distance of 235km, when completed, will shorten driving time from Kuching to Sibu from the usual six to seven hours to about two hours and 30 minutes,” he said.
Masing said both CRN and STR are expected to be completed within the next five years.
He said the two mega road projects will be implemented on an open-tender basis.
“This open-tender basis enables the Sarawak government to get the most qualified contractor technically and commercially, hence enabling the Sarawak government to save a total of RM600 million,” he said.
He added that CRN is currently undergoing a tendering process while STR is at the design stage and is expected to be tendered by the end of this year or beginning of next year.
He said a substantial amount of the fund for CRN will be allocated for the construction of bridges over nine major rivers, including the bridges over Saribas river (RM496 million), Krian river (RM174 million), Rejang river (RM450 million), Paloh river (RMM567 million) and Lassa river (RM665 million).
He said the construction of the bridges over Rambungan river (RM142 million) and Igan river (RM305.8 million) were originally federal-funded projects but have now been undertaken by the state government while the bridge over Lupar river (RM866 million) which was originally based on a 50:50 sharing with the federal government has also been fully undertaken by state government.