Sabah’s Sepang­gar Tun­nel opens to traf­fic on Satur­day

New Straits Times - - News -

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s first twin tun­nel, which cuts through sev­eral hills, will be of­fi­cially opened to road users this Satur­day.

The 600m Sepang­gar Tun­nel is a dual car­riage­way, which short­ens the travel dis­tance be­tween Sepang­gar port and the state cap­i­tal.

The RM81.5 mil­lion project, un­der the Sabah De­vel­op­ment Cor­ri­dor, was com­pleted two years ago in 56 months.

Im­ple­mented by Azam Jaya Group and su­per­vised by the Sabah Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity (Se­dia), the proje ct in­cludes a 2.5km-long high­way.

Dur­ing the launch of the tun­nel yes­ter­day, Chief Min­is­ter Tan Sri Musa Aman said the in­fra­struc­ture project would boost the state’s econ­omy, par­tic­u­larly in the man­u­fac­tur­ing, lo­gis­tics and ex­port-im­port op­er­a­tions sec­tors.

“This will shorten the travel dis­tance in trans­port­ing goods to Sepang­gar port, thus, speed­ing up the op­er­a­tion and move­ment of con­tain­ers, in line with plans to ex­pand the port.

“This al­ter­na­tive route will also re­duce traf­fic con­ges­tion and cre­ate a more com­fort­able eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

Musa’s speech was de­liv­ered by Deputy Chief Min­is­ter and State In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitin­gan.

The tun­nel shaves about 6km, or 15 min­utes, off the cur­rent route of Jalan Teluk Sepang­gar.

“More road up­grad­ing pro­grammes un­der Se­dia will be im­ple­mented to sup­port de­vel­op­ment in (Sepang­gar).

“We are also look­ing at en­larg­ing the Univer­siti Malaysia Sabah-Su­la­man road to ac­com­mo­date in­creased traf­fic through fund­ing by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment,” said Musa.

Pairin said the state gov­ern­ment would iden­tify suit­able lo­ca­tions to build tun­nel roads.

He said con­struc­tion of tun­nels could over­come the is­sue of roads dam­aged by land­slides.

Al­though con­struct­ing a tun­nel was costly, he said, tun­nels were de­signed for long-term dura­bil­ity and the main­te­nance was cost­sav­ing.

“It does not face the risk of land­slides, which are com­mon on hill­side roads.”

He said in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to lo­ca­tion would be col­lected by the peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives in each area.

He said the build­ing of tun­nels was in line with road con­struc­tion de­vel­op­ment, which aimed at min­imis­ing main­te­nance cost.

“We need to fol­low the de­vel­op­ment of con­struc­tion tech­nol­ogy in other coun­tries to en­sure our roads are durable and of qual­ity,” said Pairin. By Mohd Izham Un­nip Ab­dul­lah

BER­NAMA PIC

Deputy Chief Min­is­ter and State In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitin­gan open­ing the Sepang­gar Tun­nel (in­set) in Kota Kinabalu yes­ter­day.

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