Brunei’s first cable-stayed bridge taking shape
Siti Hajar & Khal Baharulalam

AS THE Sultanate continues to strengthen its capacities from all sides, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has made significant steps in securing the country’s socio-economic welfare in providing the people with the necessary infrastructure to ensure smooth access to key areas within the country.

In a landmark move witnessed yesterday in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan, His Royal Highness His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office led the foundation laying ceremony of the much-anticipated bridge that will function as a link from Kg Sungai Kebun to Jalan Residency across the Brunei River.

The bridge, which is slated to be completed by 2016, is a project under the 10th National Development Plan – of which HRH the Crown Prince is the Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Once construction has been completed, the bridge will span 607 metres.

It will become the first cable-stayed bridge in the Sultanate, which has a 300-metre main span and 157-metre-high pylon cable tower that will emulate the likes of many other impressive structures that currently dot several developed nations worldwide.

In a press release issued by the Public Works Department, it was emphasised that the bridge “is one of the country’s most important projects as it is expected to reflect a milestone that signifies another success in the construction industry” not just in Brunei but also in the region.

As part of the construction, the Ministry of Development as the lead agency for the project has also incorporated a number of other fixtures into its design, making the bridge – a structure that will dominate the Kg Ayer skyline and as a supplement to the already picturesque area – highly functional from a number of different aspects.

It was explained that apart from catering to the projected 9,000 vehicles moving to and from Mukim Lumapas and its surrounding areas, the bridge will also include a lane catered to pedestrians, opening up more options for health enthusiasts in the country.

And as furtherance to this attraction, the project will also include an exclusive space for sightseers, which will provide local and foreign visitors the opportunity to explore Brunei in a very unique way.

In an interview with the Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, it was shared that the ministry has been working closely with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources as part of the tourism draw, which will bode well with the country’s efforts in bringing in more international visitors to aid in the government’s economic diversification plan.

Keeping in mind of the need to preserve nature, the minister said: “The environmental side has been taken care of … we’re not too worried about that part.” According to him, the ministry has made necessary assessments.

The bridge, he added, “is part of our whole road network infrastructure” with major plans for the said road, which will also include two interchanges with one from Jalan Residency and the other from Jalan Sungai Kebun, with a few other major road infrastructure plans to take shape this year.

As with the objectives of the ministry’s other road infrastructure projects, the bridge is aimed at reducing traffic congestion along Jalan Bengkurong Masin and Jalan Tutong, which sees more than 18,000 vehicles on a daily basis and the figure is estimated to rise especially with the development of the Government Housing Scheme in Lumapas as well as other economic developments in the said areas.

The project is a design-and-build contract whereby the contractor is required to appoint a consulting engineer that has expertise in the construction of a cable stayed bridge, which sees the involvement of an overseas contractor that has the experience and skills in the construction of mega-sized projects.

Also present during the event were several Cabinet Ministers, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam as well as other government officials. - Borneo Bulletin (17 January 2014)