KUCHING, Nov 21 — The coastal road network from Kuching to Sibu which stretches 320 kilometres (km) and crosses several rivers and tributaries, definitely bringing a unique experience to drivers en route to their destination.
During the journey, drivers have to board a ferry at two locations — in Triso and Pusa — as a shortcut to Sibu by crossing the beautiful scenery of the Meludam National Park.
However, for this unique experience, drivers need to have a high level of patience, to wait for their turn in a long line of vehicles before they can board the ferry, which for frequent commuters is a difficulty.
This is especially the case during weekends, as well as the rough high tide which complicates the operation of the ferry, which in turn further increases the waiting period and disrupts the journey to the destination.
All these concerns will be alleviated through the road network improvement project, including the construction of the Batang Lupar Bridge, which is scheduled to be completed within three years and commence operation in 2025, thus opening a new chapter for Sarawak’s coastal areas.
Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, said that the construction project of the Sarawak coastal road from Kuching directly to Miri, which stretches 896km, including the construction of the Batang Lupar bridge, involved a cost of about RM5 billion.
He said once completed, the Batang Lupar Bridge, costing RM848 million, would also be one of the longest bridges in Malaysia, across the river with a length of about seven km from Triso in Meludam to Sebuyau.
“This bridge construction project is based on an agreement (with the federal government, under the previous Barisan Nasional administration). The construction cost is 50-50 (half is borne by the federal government and the other half by the Sarawak government).
“However, after the change of government (during the previous Pakatan Harapan government), we (the state government) continue to (use) our own allocation,” he said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the bridge construction project in March.
Located in Sebuyau, about 111 km from Kuching, the Batang Lupar Bridge also replace the ferry service to cross the Sungai Batang Lupar from Sebuyau to Triso.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Development, Datuk Julaihi Narawai, said that the bridge construction project had begun, and the project contractor was currently carrying out preliminary work including site investigations.
The coastal road construction project was mooted by the Sarawak fifth Chief Minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, and was agreed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government before the 14th General Election.
The project involves the construction of seven bridges, including in Kuala Kemena Batang Saribas, Sungai Krian and Batang Paloh, which will connect the southern and northern regions of the state, especially in the coastal areas of Sarawak. — Bernama