Tuesday, July 27

LBU hopes Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak will be completed as promised 

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The Sungai Awik Bridge to Bintangor Junction stretch where certain stretches have seen the completed carriageway.

KUCHING: With talk of the impending termination of the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) concept in the implementation of Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak, Lebuhraya Borneo Utara (LBU) as the current PDP, can only hope that the Highway will be completed as promised to the people of Sarawak.

“As professionals, we believe that we have done our part to develop, commence and meet all our obligations to deliver Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak to its current half-way completion.

“So now if the government wants to take over the remaining construction stage, LBU along with all Sarawakians, hope that the government will complete the Highway on time, within cost and quality standards, similar to the Telok Melano-Sematan stretch which was completed ahead of schedule and below the target costs,” LBU said in a press statement today.

LBU said the months of market talk of changing the project’s implementation model had been most disruptive to an efficient set-up designed and agreed by the government to effectively deliver 786-kilometre (km) of the Pan Borneo Highway across Sarawak.

“Rumours in the market got all parties involved in the project jittery. It certainly affected the good rate of progress achieved in the previous months. This is very sad as all this disruption may affect the continuation and overall completion of this highway.”

It noted that market talk of termination of the PDP surfaced since the change in the government in mid-2018 and LBU had anticipated that it would not be terminated after having achieved a potential savings of RM2 billion and driving its contractors to meet their respective project progress timeline.

“As PDP, which acts like a partner and an extension arm of the government, you cannot do as you like. The government is the decision-maker; PDP does the groundwork and drives implementation.”

In citing the development of Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak which involved constructing a four-lane dual carriageway over a length of 786km from Telok Melano to Miri, LBU said it was divided into 11 works packages comprising of 25 individual sections, the main contractors were pre-qualified based on preset and agreed technical and commercial selection criteria.

“In instances of joint-ventures with Peninsular Malaysia companies to strengthen the capabilities of the works package contractors (WPC), the Sarawak entity leads the joint-venture (JV) with no less than 70 per cent equity. Successful bidders were then invited to tender for packages.

“Each works package ranges from between 60km and 95km and the mainline comprises of 115 pairs of bridges, 25 interchanges, traffic barriers, road signages, overhead pedestrian bridges, rest and service areas, lay-bys and bus shelters.”

LBU noted that the cost per kilometre for road works of Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak was estimated at RM15.97 million, covering utilities relocation and road furniture across varied terrain including deep foundations and soft ground conditions mainly found in central Sarawak.

“Inclusive of costs to construct bridges and interchanges, the cost per kilometre would then be RM19.36 million. ”

In ensuring a minimum 30 per cent participation of Sarawak Bumiputera in this mega project, LBU said they introduced the Bumiputera Participation Programme and today, that target had been exceeded with 32.34 per cent of the total contract value, where an equivalent of over RM5.2 billion of works was identified to be allocated for Sarawak Bumiputera contractors of various grades and capabilities.

“As at August 25, 2019, the overall actual WPCs’ works progress over the whole 25 sections had reached an average of 45 per cent completion; with some sections achieving between 55 per cent to 65 per cent completion. The section of Batang Rajang (Durin) Bridge under WPC 07 in Sibu has in fact achieved 87.2 per cent completion as at end-August 2019.

“As at end-August 2019, over 160km of Pan Borneo Sarawak’s first of two carriageways has been partially completed to divert ‘live’ traffic, thereby allowing road-users a more comfortable driving experience whilst the Highway is under construction.

“By end 2019, it is expected that a total 395km of the first carriageway will be opened to traffic. At the same time, works will continue unhindered on completing the second carriageway.”