By Mariah Dok­sil

Sabah's first road tun­nel to open on Satur­day

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE -

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's first 600-me­tre dual car­riage­way Sepang­gar Tun­nel, con­nect­ing the Kota Kinabalu In­dus­trial Park (KKIP) and Sepang­gar Port as well as sev­eral sur­round­ing ar­eas, was launched yes­ter­day, and will be open for use from Satur­day.

The tun­nel, which took four years and eight months to build, was a project by the Sabah Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity (SE­DIA) un­der the Sabah De­vel­op­ment Cor­ri­dor (SDC).

Cost­ing RM82 mil­lion, the project, which in­cludes the con­struc­tion of a road to Kam­pung Lokub, was funded by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment through SE­DIA, and con­struc­tion was car­ried out by the Sabah Pub­lic Works Depart­ment (JKR) and con­trac­tor Pem­bi­naan Azam Jaya Sdn Bhd.

Chief Min­is­ter Tan Sri Musa Aman said the open­ing of the tun­nel was an­other feather in the cap for the Sabah gov­ern­ment, and proof that the gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to bring­ing about a com­pre­hen­sive and bal­anced de­vel­op­ment agenda, in­clud­ing the en­hance­ment of road link­ages.

He said the road tun­nel would spur the state's econ­omy par­tic­u­larly in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, lo­gis­tic ser­vices and also supporting the im­port and ex­port op­er­a­tions.

The Chief Min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment was al­ways striv­ing to im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive and bal­anced de­vel­op­ment agenda, in­clud­ing in im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity in cer­tain ar­eas.

"The Sepang­gar Road Tun­nel will be con­nect­ing the Kota Kinabalu In­dus­trial Park (KKIP) and Sepang­gar Con­tainer Port to make both KKIP and port more com­pet­i­tive.

"It will def­i­nitely cut short the travel dis­tance of de­liv­ery to the port, and at the same time to speed up the con­tainer mov­ing op­er­a­tions in line with the plan to ex­pand the Sepang­gar Port.

"This al­ter­na­tive route will also di­vert the mas­sive traf­fic in the area and help the small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) to save their lo­gis­tic costs, which will de­velop a more con­ducive eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment," Musa said this in his speech for yes­ter­day's launch­ing of the road tun­nel.

Musa's speech was read by Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitin­gan, who is also the In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter.

He added the state gov­ern­ment was al­ways con­cerned about the rapid de­vel­op­ment in Sepang­gar area, and was cur­rently in­ten­si­fy­ing ef­forts by en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment com­ing in due to its strate­gic lo­ca­tion for heavy in­dus­try.

"I be­lieve that this in­fra­struc­ture will gen­er­ate lo­cal so­cio eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially with the open­ing of new area in KKIP and its sur­round­ings.

"Sepang­gar area is in the mid­dle of a mod­erni­sa­tion process, which def­i­nitely needs ef­fi­cient in­fra­struc­ture to cope with the in­creas­ing traf­fic. Un­der the Sabah Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity (SE­DIA), there will be more road im­prove­ment pro­grammes to be im­ple­mented to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of this area," Musa said.

The Chief Min­is­ter elab­o­rated that the state and fed­eral govern­ments would con­tinue to co­op­er­ate in up­grad­ing and im­prov­ing the in­fra­struc­ture all over the state.

He also said the UMSSu­la­man route would be en­larged and funded by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while in a press con­fer­ence, Pairin said the con­struc­tion of the tun­nel, al­though costly, would help the gov­ern­ment save on an­nual road main­te­nance cost.

With the com­ple­tion of the first tun­nel road in the State, Pairin called on lead­ers in ev­ery district to come up with a pro­posal, if there is any need to build a road tun­nel in their ar­eas.

"We are look­ing for­ward for al­ter­na­tive con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing build­ing more tun­nels if it is more eco­nom­i­cal for a long pe­riod of time," he said.

Also present at the launch­ing yes­ter­day were Tourism, Cul­ture and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ma­sidi Man­jun, Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment and Con­sumer Af­fairs Min­is­ter Datuk Jainab Ah­mad Ayid, Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Datuk Radin Malleh, Special Tasks Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Teo Chee Kang and for­mer head of state Tun Ah­mad­shah Ab­dul­lah.

— Ber­nama photo

(From left), Wan Mari­dah Chomar, Ram­lah Usin and Haslinda Oth­man at the 600-me­tre dual car­riage­way Sepang­gar Tun­nel which will be open for use from Satur­day.

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