Better Baleh connectivity in the cards

Better Baleh connectivity in the cards

KUCHING: The implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is set to vastly improve road connectivity to Baleh in Kapit Division. Currently through SCORE, it has funded the infrastructure development in Samalaju, Mukah and Tanjung Manis Growth Nodes.

With funding from the Federal Government through Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA), the next phase of construction will soon begin on the access road, which will lead all the way to Sarawak Energy Bhd’s Baleh hydroelectric project (HEP).

As the implementing agency for the project, Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak signed contracts with four construction firms here yesterday, to start work on the 73-kilometre road, from Nanga Mujung to the Sungai Dapu.

The access road, which is expected to complete by the end of 2019, is crucial for the construction of the 1,285MW Baleh HEP that is expected to begin this year.

Apart from accelerating investment in infrastructure development for the energy sector, the access road is poised to open up new areas of economic activities in the region for agriculture and commercial forestry and help create job and business opportunities for the local communities.

This project is the first big public funded road infrastructure for Tunoh Growth Node, which is also known as Bukit Mabong District.

For the more than 9,000 people living along Batang Baleh, the new access road will also provide them a more convenient commute to Kapit town, as the journey by road would take only one hour, compared to the 3-hour travel time by express boat.

The access road project, which began in 2009, involves the construction of 73 kilometres of ‘R3 Standard’ road and 27 concrete bridges from Nanga Mujung to Sungai Dapu, as well as construction of 3-metre wide paved roads to seven longhouses in the area.

The RM77 million Batang Baleh Bridge, which was under Package B (Phase 1) of the project, was completed in December last year.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the access road project will be implemented at an approved cost of RM1.4 billion.

It will be implemented through 15 phases under three main packages: Package A (Phases 1-7) that consists of construction of roads from KM0.00 to KM36.258, including eight bridges; Package B (Phases 2-4) from KM36.258 to KM50.698, including 10 bridges; and Package C (Phases 1-5) from KM50.698 to KM73.3, including nine bridges.

Meanwhile, the 36-month contracts for Package A (Phases 2-7) of the access road project, were signed between JKR Sarawak, represented by its Director Zuraimi Sabki, and Debessa Development Sdn Bhd, Pekerjaan Piasau Konkerit Sdn Bhd, Untang Jaya Sdn Bhd, and Samado Sdn Bhd.

Among those who witnessed the signing of the contracts were Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr. James Jemut Masing, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin anak Jawong, Kapit Resident Joseph Belayong and RECODA Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot.

A group photo: (front row, from left/right) RECODA CEO Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin Anak Jawong, Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr. James Jemut Masing, JKR Sarawak Director Zuraimi Sabki Kapit, Resident Joseph Belayong together with representatives from the four construction firms.

A group photo: (front row, from left/right) RECODA CEO Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin Anak Jawong, Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr. James Jemut Masing, JKR Sarawak Director Zuraimi Sabki Kapit, Resident Joseph Belayong together with representatives from the four construction firms.