Road upgrading will be ready on time: Contractor

KUCHING: The upgrading of the 52km road to Mukah, from the Sibu-Bintulu junction at Selangau to Matadeng junction, will be completed on time, said the main contractor, Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd.
Though the work, which commenced in July 2007, was scheduled for completion at the end of 2010, the completed stretches will be handed over in stages.

Some 5km are expected to be handed over before Hari Raya Puasa.

The assurance was given by Naim’s executive director Suyanto Osman in a press statement yesterday following a report in The Borneo Post last Friday about complaints of motorists on the road.

“The first stretch of about 5km from Matadeng junction will be completed and opened to the public by the middle of this month.

“Naim is targeting to complete and handover at least another five kilometres towards the end of this year,” said Suyanto.

He also called for patience and understanding from road users, adding that as a responsible contractor, Naim was doing its best to keep the road in good condition under the circumstances.

“The continuous flow of traffic makes work difficult, especially when the road is frequently used by heavy vehicles.

“The existing road is an oil palm plantation road with steep slopes, very winding alignment, and very thin asphalt surface intended for light vehicles and occasional heavy vehicles,” explained Suyanto.

However, more heavy vehicles of various types have been travelling to Mukah due to increased development after it became a state division, he said, adding that with the mining of coal at several locations along the road, the road is now probably the most frequently used road by extremely heavy vehicles in Sarawak.

The scope of the upgrading work involves cutting down hills and filling up valleys as well as widening and straightening the road to ‘R3’ standard.

Once completed, the road will be quite similar to the main trunk road and would cut travel time between Sibu and Mukah to less than two hours.

Naim is mindful of the need for continuous road maintenance, so together with the Public Works Department (JKR) it has done continuous expensive repairs.

However, the temporary roads were quickly damaged due to the passage by trucks which were often overloaded.

Nevertheless, Naim and JKR would attempt to keep the roads in serviceable condition until the upgrading work is completed, said Suyanto.

He said they also had to contend with land issues at certain sections of the road which had held up work at times.

Suyanto thanked the authorities for their understanding and cooperation in helping to resolve problems that they encountered.

– Taken from Borneo Post Online