KUCHING: The Batang Samarahan Bridge, first announced in the 8th Malaysia Plan, has finally commence construction.
The RM93.88mil dual-carriageway bridge by Perkerjaan Piasau Konkerit Sdn Bhd will span 774m and should be completed by January 2018.
The bridge will close the last missing link between here, Kota Samarahan, Asajaya and Sadong Jaya. The bridge will directly benefit some 240,000 in the Samarahan division.
The current access to Asajaya and Sadong Jaya is via ferry (which cannot operate during extreme low and high tides) or via a longer alternative road.
Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof said that compared with taking the ferry, the Batang Samarahan bridge should shorten travel time by about 30 minutes.
At the same time, a more expensive Batang Sadong Bridge, valued at RM231mil, is already under construction.
Both bridges are in the southern end of the state’s coastal highway, which is the alternative to the Pan Borneo Trunk Road.
“Aside from convenience, I expect the construction of this bridge to bring economic benefits to locals. People here are fishermen and farmers, and with this bridge, it will make it easier for them to transport their goods to Kuching to trade,” said Assistant Housing Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who is Asajaya assemblyman.
“I know, for many, this bridge is a dream come true. Living standards will improve,” he added, during the earth-breaking ceremony yesterday.
On a related matter, it was also announced the first dual-use pedestrian and motorcycle overhead bridge in Sarawak would be built near Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, which is at Kota Samarahan.
It was proposed to prevent accidents at the blackspot, where students often take a shortcut between the university and a residential and commercial area. The overhead bridge should cost about RM3.5mil.