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‘Expressway Upgrade Will End Headache For Samarahan Folk’

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Traffic congestion will soon be a thing of the past for Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) and Samarahan folk following the announcement that Samarahan Expressway will be upgraded next year.

MPKS chairman Datuk Peter Minos said he is thankful for the speedy action taken by Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation (MIDT) under Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.

This must surely be the best news for MPKS and the people of Samarahan. Only two weeks ago MPKS raised the matter with the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (during MPKS’ anniversary dinner), who has responded, and the matter was brought up by the local elected representatives during the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting, Minos said yesterday.

He said it was not an exaggeration to say that solving traffic jams would be like removing MPKS and Samarahan residents’ worst headache, since other problems are rather manageable and could be sorted out relatively easily. Minos explained MPKS has been worried about the problem for the last few years as both development and the population of Kota Samarahan have risen rapidly beyond expectation.

The town is in fact the fastest growing in Sarawak at around 6 per cent per annum, especially in residential and business premises development. We have seen how people in Kota Samarahan have to grapple, bear, and live with the terrible traffic jams from five to seven in the mornings and from five to seven in the evenings during working days � probably by far the worst in the outer and greater Kuching area.

If the problem is not solved, MPKS fears that it will surely and adversely affect both investment and development and even residential living. Who wants to do business and reside in any area that is badly choked by traffic? he said.

Now that the Batang Samarahan bridge is completed, he said MPKS has also seen an increasing number of vehicles from Simunjan, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, and Asajaya, which all converge in Kota Samarahan before reaching Kuching.

It will be worse if the coastal road is done and completed from Batang Sadong bridge to Batang Samarahan bridge.

It is thus most wise that the traffic issue in Kota Samarahan be sorted out now by MIDT. MPKS is truly relieved and so are the people of Samarahan, he said.

He added MPKS is looking towards more development in its area since the Chief Minister announced the setting up of the Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Authority (IRSDA), presumably with staff and funds to invest in modern agriculture and even manufacturing, especially in Asajaya and Sadong Jaya, where there is ample land with fertile soil.

Masing had announced on Thursday that the long-awaited upgrading of Samarahan Expressway would commence immediately after a traffic study is carried out by Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak in January.

He said the traffic study, which would take two to three months, is needed to determine whether to convert all five roundabouts along the route into signalled interchanges with traffic lights or to build a shallow underpass similar to the one at Datuk Temenggong Abang Kipali bin Abang Akip Interchange in Matang. Also involved in the proposed upgrading is the 2km road from Stutong to the Setia Raja-Samarahan roundabout, where the road and the bridge would be upgraded into a dual carriageway with four lanes.

The upgrading is expected to cost RM110 million, with construction to be completed within one or two years, depending on the finalised scope of the project.


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