KUCHING: Sarawak’s first Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, covering the state capital plus the Samarahan and Serian divisions, is expected to be operational by 2024.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the route will be divided into three lines, namely the Kota Samarahan-Sungai Batu-Damai, the Serian-Siburan-Senari and the City Dispersal Line.
The first route, known as the Damai Line, will cover a distance of 59.7km from Muara Tuang (Kota Samarahan) to Damai. It will pass through 28 stations including Rembus, Unimas, Riveria, Simpang Tiga, Hikmah Exchange, Petra Jaya Hospital, Bandar Baru Samariang, Sentoria, Sungai Batu and Damai Central.
The second route or Serian Line, covers 84km with 26 stations. It will traverse Baki, Tapah, Siburan, Penrissen, Kota Padawan, Kuching International Airport, Tabuan, Simpang Tiga, Pending, Demak Laut and Bako, before terminating at Senari port in Muara Tebas.
This line will have an interchange station with the Kota Samarahan-Damai line at the Simpang Tiga Roundabout.
The third Kuching City Line is a city dispersal LRT covering 11km with 13 stops including Hikmah Exchange, Kuching Waterfront, Jalan Abel, Padungan Central, Tanah Putih, Tun Salahuddin Bridge, Darul Hana, Wisma Bapa Malaysia and Medan Raya.
“The LRT envisages efficient mobility in Kuching, creating economic opportunities, enabling trade and facilitating access to markets and services.
“At the same time, it will help transform Kuching into a more dynamic and competitive city, as well as create more jobs," Abang Johari told a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here Thursday (March 29).
The project is estimated to cost some RM10.8bil and will create over 20,000 jobs when fullly operational.
Abang Johari said the city dispersal line will be an at-grade (street level) tram system rather than an elevated LRT. It is supposed to navigate urban streets with less intrusive stops.
As for the long distance routes, the LRT system will be using a hydrogen fuel cell train system.
“This cost effective and environmentally friendly technology is new to the rail industry and is anticipated to be the first of its kind to be implemented in this region, when incorporated in the Kuching LRT system," he said.
Abang Johari estimated that travelling by rail from major developed areas within Kuching district to the city centre can be achieved within 30 minutes.
Travel time from Kota Samarahan to the city will be cut into half from the normal trip of around 90 minutes during peak hour.
Abang Johari said the next phase of LRT development will cover three routes to Bau, Telaga Air and the Kuching outer ring.