He said the construction of the route going through the median of the Kuching-Samarahan Expressway, which is now three per cent complete, is being carried out concurrently with the upgrading of all the five roundabouts there to traffic light intersections.
Uggah said the traffic light project is 59 per cent ahead of schedule and is also expected to be fully completed in October.
“What does it mean? It means that once the road (upgrading) is completed, the media as the route of the ART of about 3.3 kilometres is also ready,” he told reporters after a site visit to the traffic light project at the Sarawak Heart Centre roundabout here today.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development explained that the Sarawak government decided to carry out the construction concurrently to avoid inconvenience to road users, as if the projects were done separately, it would have caused traffic disruptions and road users would have to go through another round of long traffic jams.
“The Premier has directed these two projects must be done concurrently so that when the five traffic light intersections are complete, the median or route for the ART is also ready,” he said.
On the traffic light intersections, he said the government is very happy with the progress since it was once considered a ‘sick project’ since work started in 2017.
It is noted that three such intersections have been completed, while work on two more roundabouts is still ongoing.
Uggah pointed out that the completion of the traffic light intersections is critical to the ART route work completion.
“We are confident it will be completed on time. We have to, because the prototype of the ART is coming and we cannot stop the shipment if the route is not ready. If you look at the groud structure, there is no reason it cannot be completed as it doesn’t involve deep peat,” he said.
He also thanked Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd for the trust in the Public Works Department Sarawak to undertake the work.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Metro project director of the Kuching Urban Transportation System Zafrin Zakariah said the prototype ART vehicle is expected to arrive next month.
“Once the route is completed in October, the target is still on schedule to run our test drive run by November. So, we are on target actually,” he said.In a previous news report, the prototype will undergo a two-month engineering run at The Isthmus in September and October before beginning its Stage 2 proof of concept exercise along a short stretch of the Blue Line in Samarahan this November.