KUCHING: In the next ten years and with an estimated cost of RM11 billion, Sarawak is expected to have three trunk roads, thus enabling better connectively in the state, revealed Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.
The whole idea, according to Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, is to provide seamless drive from here to major towns and cities throughout the state.
The three major road systems are the Coastal Highway, the Borneo Highway and the proposed second trunk road, which will link Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong and Sibu.
“My ministry has discussed it (proposed second trunk road) with the Chief Minister and the State Financial Secretary and we agreed that the proposed trunk road will be implemented within a period of ten years the most.
“And the cost will be about RM11 billion. The money, we will get it from somewhere but it’s not from the federal government. So, it’s not going to be federal government funded project but instead a state government funded project,” Masing told The Borneo Post at his office in Bangunan Baitulmakmur here recently.
Masing also revealed that the state government planned to provide seamless driving experience from Sematan right up to Miri when the Coastal Highway is completed with at least five more major bridges to be built during the same period.
“The second trunk road will reduce the travelling time from Sibu to Kuching by two and half hours. Because if you use the Pan Borneo Highway it will take five to six hours,” he said.
He explained that the proposed second trunk road would detour from the Pan Borneo Highway starting from Betong to Sri Aman, Lingga, Sebuyau, Samarahan and Kuching.
Masing reiterated that the proposed trunk road and the Coastal Highway would reduce travelling time from Kuching to Sibu and vice versa.
“So, in future, we will have three major roads from here to Sibu. Firstly, the Pan Borneo Highway, secondly, the proposed second trunk road and thirdly, the coastal highway. So with these main spines of road system in Sarawak, the state will be further developed,” he stressed.
On the 40km Serian-Tebedu Road, Masing said it will be upgraded to double-lane once the Inland Port in Tebedu takes off.
“That road will also be improved soon, once we have done the Inland Port in Tebedu properly and get the necessary agreement with the Indonesian Government. We have to improve it so that it will improve the flow of traffic,” he stressed.
Currently the single lane road is considered too narrow for international cross border trading. The Tebedu Road was constructed by a French consortium in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Masing revealed that he had talked to Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof for the federal government’s assistance in repairing damaged roads and infrastructure caused by the recent floods which hit most parts of the state, estimated to cost at least RM500 million.