Sabah’s Sepanggar Tunnel opens to traffic on Saturday
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
Deputy Chief Minister and State Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan opening the Sepanggar Tunnel (inset) in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.