KOTA KINABALU: According to the latest statistics, Sabah has a road network of 21,934 km where 11,355 km or 51.8 per cent is sealed.
Most of the main towns in the state are accessible by road but there are still places like villages, agricultural areas and tourism spots which are connected by gravel roads, Deputy Chief Minister cum Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan said.
“My ministry will see to it that the road network in Sabah is upgraded and among the plans are to seal the gravel roads in stages and the focus will be on areas for tourism, industry, agriculture, villages with high population density and places with potential for development,” he said.
Pairin in his speech at the opening of the Road Day Sabah 2016 Conference by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday, said that from December 2010 to December 2015, 4.9 per cent of the roads in Sabah had been sealed.
He pointed out that most of the roads in the state were built before the 90s and they were based on the standard and design used then.
The method was no longer suitable to meet current needs which was getting more challenging, he added.
“The number of vehicles on the road has increased tremendously coupled with the number of vehicles carrying more than its allowed capacity.
“The Public Works Department (PWD) as the main agency in the implementation of road projects in the state must come up with a strategy by applying latest technology and methods to upgrade and repair existing roads so that they can continue to be used.
“I hope that the Road Transport Department can do regular checks and enforcement in areas where overloaded vehicles are mostly found using the roads. I also urge other road users to play their roles by observing the laws, especially on overloading to prolong the ‘life’ of the roads,” Pairin stressed.
According to him, traffic congestions in major towns like Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau were caused by the increase in the number of vehicles on the road.
“My ministry through PWD has drawn up various strategies on traffic management among which is the upgrading of single lane roads to two or three lanes. At the same time more flyovers will be constructed, especially at main road intersections. For example the Lintas Bypass Flyover in Kota Kinabalu which is now at 53 per cent completed.
“The RM217.6 billion federal funded project is expected to be completed on July 8 2017. The project involves the building of two flyovers at the Jalan Lintas-Jalan Kolam intersection and the Jalan Lintas-Jalan Tuaran Mile 5.5 intersection as well as the construction of a third lane between the two intersections,” he said.