SEBUYAU: The government is giving top priority to developing the Pan-Borneo highway rather than the coastal highway.
“Despite so, Btg Sadong Bridge has been an on-going project which will connect Simunjan and Sebuyau. A bridge over Batang Samarahan has also been approved,” said Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin to BAT III here recently.
He said, basically, the coastal highway is already connected except for the bridges which are very costly.
“We will fight for more bridges to connect the whole way so that people don’t have to rely on ferries to cross different rivers.
“However, we will only do it later. Presently, our priority is still on Pan-Borneo highway,” said the Tebedu assemblyman.
He said Pan-Borneo highway has become the focus of the government attention because it has been the road that most people use.
“The Pan-Borneo highway has helped to reduce transportation cost as people don’t need to use the plane to travel from town to town.
“We are at the moment fighting for the budget to upgrade this highway. To do a complete upgrading, we still need at least RM10 billion,” said Manyin.
He said whatever resources that the state government can lay its hand on, they will be used to upgrade stretches from Miri to Bintulu, Bintulu to Sibu and Serian to Sri Aman.
When contacted, Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof said it is up to the state to further develop the coastal highway unlike the pan-Borneo highway which has been given top priority by the federal government to be completed in the next five years.
“For the Pan-Borneo highway we will work closely with the state government so that the current one-lane will be upgraded to a double-lane,” he said.
On a different note, Fadillah, who is also the MP for Petra Jaya, disclosed that beside a new bridge to be built across Sg Sarawak from E-Mart in Matang Jaya, the Matang road from Matang Jaya to Taman Malihah junction would be widened to ease traffic in the normally congested road especially during peak hours.- theborneopost