Sarawak Metro speeds up rail contract awards

KUCHING: Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd has accelerated the award of contracts for the construction of Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project, handing out a third contract worth RM943mil to another Malaysia-China joint venture (JV) company.

The JV company comprises Sri Datai Construction (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, JT JV Builders Sdn Bhd and CHEC Construction (M) Sdn Bhd.

The contract it secured is to build the infrastructure for the Red Line, one of the three transit lines under KUTS project.

Sarawak Metro received six bids for this work package at the close of the tender exercise on Oct 25, 2023.

CHEC Construction is a subsidiary of China Communications and Construction Co Ltd.

The Red Line’s infrastructure works covers 12.3km and stretches from Kuching Sentral to Pending in the city.

“Apart from building the at-grade and elevated dedicated lane for the autonomous rapid transit (ART), the contract is also for road widening works as well as other infrastructure works.

“The JV company is expected to commence work next month and is scheduled to complete by December 2026,” said Sarawak Metro.

Sarawak Metro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corp, which is tasked by the Sarawak government to develop, operate and maintain KUTS.

The project, estimated to cost some RM6bil, is being developed with Phase 1 consisting the Blue Line, Red Line and Green Line.

The Blue Line covers a distance of 27.6km from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to Hikmah Exchange in Kuching City while the Green Line (30km) connects Pending and Damai in the Santubong peninsula, a popular tourist spot.

Ibraco Bhd unit, Ibraco Construction Sdn Bhd, and its JV partners China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd and Nanyang Tunnel Engineering Sdn Bhd won the construction and completion of the infrastructure works for the Blue Line for a contract value of RM568.6mil in November.

The Blue Lane Package 1 is expected to be completed by Dec 31, 2025 (stage one) and June 30,2026 (stage 1A).

Two weeks ago, another JV company formed by IJM Construction Sdn Bhd, Azam Sehasrat Sdn Bhd and Unique Deco Sdn Bhd was awarded a RM260mil contract.

The contract is for the construction and completion of the Rembus ART depot and other associated structures, stabling yard, detention pond, access road as well as civil works.

The JV company is also expected to start work next month for completion by December 2025.

According to Sarawak Metro, the KUTS project is scheduled to begin passenger service in stages, starting from the fourth quarter of 2025, and expected to achieve full service by end of 2027.

The KUTS is implemented to ease the traffic congestion, especially along Kuching-Samarahan highway, and to modernise the state’s public transport system.

The ART vehicles are the backbone of the KUTS and will be supported by feeder buses. Both vehicles will be powered by green hydrogen, in support of Sarawak’s decarbonisation and in line with the state’s agenda to advance the hydrogen economy.

The ART system will have three-car set rolling stock with a maximum capacity of 300 passengers. The normal service operating speed for ART will be 35km per hour, which can reach a maximum design speed up to 70km per hour.

The prototype ART vehicle was recently on a test engineering run here.

The test run was to refine the specification of the ART unit and also for the manufacturer to identify any potential issues before proceeding with the proof-of-concept exercise.

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