Friday, December 13

All set for Sarawak to be toll-free

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Host of activities lined up to mark the historic event at Tun Salahuddin Bridge

Commuters passing the toll smile for the camera.

Commuters passing the toll smile for the camera.

A worker installing light for the centre stage at the Toll Plaza.

A worker installing light for the centre stage at the Toll Plaza.

KUCHING: Final preparations were in full swing yesterday for the Toll-Free Sarawak countdown at the Toll Plaza of Tun Salahuddin Bridge on New Year Eve (tonight) which is expected to be attended by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and a crowd of about 10,000.

Workers from various agencies were seen engaged in a flurry of activities to make the historic event a success, among them putting the final touches to the stage where a concert will be held.

Also seen were workers and contractors of Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) beautifying the stage which must be completed before the end of the day.

Workers who were fixing lighting at the back of the stage gave their thumbs-up to the preparations and assured that that everything should be ready before the final rehearsal last night.

At one of the toll stations, two workers were seen removing a toll bar. One of them said the bar would be a token for a VVIP to commemorate ‘Toll-Free Sarawak’.

A further inspection revealed the venue was ready, with all public facilities and utilities in place.

The abolishment of toll at the Tun Salahuddin Bridge means that Sarawak will be toll-free, as the chief minister had earlier successfully negotiated for tolls at Lanang Bridge in Sibu and Asean Bridge in Baram to be abolished.

Tolls at Lanang Bridge and Asean Bridge were scrapped in May and June this year respectively.

The six-lane dual-deck Tun Salahuddin Bridge that spans Sungai Sarawak was completed in 2003, and the concessionaire started collecting toll in October that year.

‘20,000 vehicles passed through bridge every day’

The operation is managed by Zecon Toll Concessionaire Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zecon Bhd.

It is estimated that more than 20,000 vehicles passed through the bridge every day.

The toll rates are RM1.60 for cars or taxis, RM2.20 per van/pick-up vehicle, and RM3.30 per bus/lorry.

Motorcyclists are charged 50 sen per entry.

The event will be a historic occasion and city folks are invited to join the celebration and take a glimpse of renowned Malaysian artistes such as Datuk Jamal Abdillah, Dayang Nurfaizah and Amir Ukays.

The event will end with a 10-minute fireworks display.

Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) workers (from left) Salleh Bol, Lajep Juan and Ariffin Sabu give their thumbs-up to the abolishment of the bridge toll.

Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) workers (from left) Salleh Bol, Lajep Juan and Ariffin Sabu give their thumbs-up to the abolishment of the bridge toll.

Notices for toll users at the Toll Plaza.

Notices for toll users at the Toll Plaza.

A motorcyclist paying his toll.

A motorcyclist paying his toll.