SIMUNJAN - Three big bridges, at a combined cost of RM1.4 billion (S$451,638), will be built in Sarawak to connect the state capital Kuching to an upcoming energy project site, said Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday (Dec 18).
Datuk Seri Najib said the Government has approved the building of the Batang Lupar Bridge at a cost of RM1 billion, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2018, The Star reported.
Spanning 5km across the Batang Lupar river, the bridge is set to become the longest to cross a river in the country.
Two other projects, the RM300million Batang Igan Bridge and RM 130million Batang Rambungan Bridge, are currently at the planning stage.
Mr Najib announced the projects at the official opening of the 1.48km Batang Sadong Bridge on Sunday.The Batang Sadong bridge was completed in October is currently the longest bridge to cross a river in the country.
The bridge, which costs RM231 million to build according to Bernama, is expected to spur economic growth in the area, particularly in the agriculture, aquaculture and tourism sectors.
Mr Najib added that progress on another project, the RM112 million Batang Samarahan Bridge, had reached 52 per cent and is expected to be completed in early 2018.
The projects are seen as part of an outreach to Mr Najib's rural voter bank.
"It is the government's vision within the next few years to complete two main road networks in Sarawak, which is the Pan Borneo Highway and coastal highway. We are committed to build these bridges. Once the coastal highway and Pan Borneo are completed, it will change the economic landscape of Sarawak," Mr Najib said at the opening.
"We want to make sure no one is left behind or neglected from development," Mr Najib said. "Thus, we continue to build more bridges, to replace river crossings which still depend on ferry services. This is my vision for Sarawak in the future, in the next few years," Mr Najib was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.