KUCHING: More Sarawak and peninsula-based construction companies are expected to secure jobs under the billion-ringgit Sarawak Coastal Road Network project as the award of contracts picks up momentum.Five contracts – four of them bridge projects across rivers – worth a combined RM1.76bil have been awarded since February.
The coastal road network project, which spans a distance of 896km, involves the construction of nine major bridges across rivers.
The remaining six bridge projects to be awarded in stages are estimated to cost some RM2.4bil.
The proposed Batang Saribas bridge,with an estimated cost of RM496mil, will be the next to be awarded soon after tender closed in February, according to Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri James Masing (pic).
Tender for the Batang Rambungan bridge project (estimated to cost RM142mil) closed earlier this month.
The other three bridge projects are Batang Igan bridge (RM305.8mil) and Batang Lupar bridge (RM866mil), which are expected to be tendered out in third and fourth quarter 2019 respectively as well as Batang Rejang bridge (RM450mil)
Masing said the Batang Rambungan and Batang Igan bridge projects were originally federal-funded projects but had now been undertaken by the Sarawak government.
The Batang Lupar bridge project,originally to be funded by the federal and Sarawak government on a 50:50 sharing basis, has also been fully undertaken by the Sarawak government.
The three bridge projects that have been awarded include Batang Paloh bridge in Mukah Division to Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) for RM298.98mil.
PPES Works Sarawak Sdn Bhd (a 51%-owned subsidiary of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) and China Communications Construction Company Sdn Bhd Joint Venture was awarded the Bintulu-Jepak bridge project for about RM466.7mil.
The Muara Lassa bridge project has also been awarded for RM598mil and Sungai Krian bridge project for RM75mil.
Also awarded was Jalan Pasi to Jalan Sarikei/Tanjung Manis, including Batang Rejang bridge in Sarikei Division, for RM321mil.
“The open tender basis enables the Sarawak government to get the most qualified contractors technically and commercially, hence enabling it to save a total of RM600mil,” Masing said in a press statement.
Masing said that besides the bridge projects,tenders for some of the sub-packages under the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Sarawak Coastal Road network had closed while others either in the process of tender documentations or under site investigation and design.
The upgrading and rehabilitation project is made up of two main packages – Package A and B,which comprises 13 sub-packages and 10 sub-packages respectively.
The coastal road project, which is expected to be completed within five years,will connect the major and secondary towns statewide to the Pan Borneo Highway, the project of which is close to 40% completion.
Listed construction companies which are doing a good job as main contractors of the Pan Borneo Highway project are said to be front-runners for the coastal road contracts.
Those which have bid for the coastal road project include KKB Engineering Bhd-WCT Holdings Bhd JV and Naim Holdings Bhd-Gamuda Bhd JV, which are each undertaking one of the work packages for the RM16bil Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway project.
On the Sarawak-fund Second Trunk Road project, another mega infrastructure project, Masing said the project is now in the design stage.
Tenders for the project are expected to open in fourth quarter 2019 or early 2020.
The first section of the Second Trunk Road project is a 112km stretch from Kota Samarahan to Roban while the last section is about 30km to link up to Sibu.Also to be built is a 94km Sebuyau-Lingga-Sri Aman-Betong Expressway.
The 235km Second Trunk Road, which will link Kuching-Sibu with Pan Borneo Highway via Jalan Sebuyau-Sri Aman-Betong, will shorten driving time from Kuching to Sibu by half from the usual five hours, according to Masing.
Masing said the Sarawak Coastal Road and Second Trunk Road projects are expected to cost RM11bil and that the fund is already available to implement all the packages.
He said Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR), in consideration of the complexities and technical challenges especially with the construction of the major bridges as well as extensive peat soil conditions of the coastal road network and second trunk road projects, had looked into capacity leveraging via project management consultant (PMC).
With the approval of the Sarawak government, OPUS Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd (100%-owned by UEM Edgenta Bhd) was appointed as the projects’ PMC about three months ago.
“The integration of the PMC into JKR Sarawak as a hybrid PMC model serves to enhance the capacity of JKR Sarawak by extending the current technical capacities and capabilities,” he said.
JKR Sarawak is expecting to appoint about 30 local consultants as design consultants for the projects,and the design fee is expected to amount to RM300mil, according to Masing.
Besides the road projects,Sarawak government is funding an on-going state water grid programme, of which an allocation of RM2.8bil has been approved.
More than 240 projects, including construction of water treatment plants, distribution network and replacement of water pipes, have been identified under the programme.
The projects have been dished out progressively since last year.