A road linking Kuala Serupai to Kuala Tatau will shorten the distance between Mukah and Bintulu when it is completed in two to three years’ time.
Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the 11km road would include the RM80mil Kuala Tatau bridge and two smaller bridges costing about RM5mil each.
The total cost of the single-carriageway road is RM230mil.
“This is a state project which was approved by the Cabinet last year. The road is very important because it is the missing link from here to Bintulu.
“At the moment people have to go via Selangau through the Matading road to Bintulu. By building this road, we’ll be able to shorten the distance from Mukah to Bintulu by about 120km,” Manyin told a press conference here yesterday.
He said the letter of intent for the project had already been issued while the letter of award would be issued by May or June.
“Construction has started as compensation for the land is all done. We are only waiting for the final stage of the design of the bridge.
“The final negotiations will be done within the next two months,” he said.
He added that the project was being undertaken by a joint venture between Piasau Concrete Sdn Bhd and China Yunnan Road and Bridge Engineering Sdn Bhd.
“According to the contractor, the road will be completed latest by early 2017, but I believe they will be able to finish it by late 2016,” he said.
Public Works Department (PWD) divisional engineer Hipani Alwi said the road would have a big impact on Mukah Division as it would reduce the journey time to Bintulu by about an hour.
”It now takes about three hours to drive from Mukah to Bintulu over a distance of 220km. With this road completed, it will take about one-and-a-half hours to reach Bintulu airport and two hours to the town,” he said.
He added that the road would also enable easier transportation of goods, such as oil palm from plantations and aluminium ingots from the smelter here, while Balingian town was set to become a transit town along the road as it was located about halfway between Mukah and Bintulu.
On the call by PKR for two wooden bridges in Kampung Baru and Kampung Suyong to be rebuilt, Hipani said the Kampung Baru bridge was approved last year and was now awaiting implementation.
He said works to replace the bridge with a concrete one were expected to start soon.
However, he said the Kampung Suyong bridge was not in the list of projects under the replacement of council bridges statewide.