THE long-awaited bridge connecting Temburong to Brunei-Muara is expected to be ready by 2018 under a fast-track programme, following the awarding of contracts for the project's initial assessments yesterday.
Arup Group was appointed the civil and structural consultant for the 30km bridge, led by a Prince Philip gold medallist for 2012, Naeem Hussain. The award-winning firm's portfolio includes the Sydney Opera House, Beijing's Olympic Stadium and Stonecutters Bridge.
"We will undertake the task with the same dedication and excellence that our firm has been doing for other equally renowned projects. This project is undertaken under a fast-track programme to meet the very important symbolic physical connection between Brunei-Muara and Temburong in 2018," said the Director of Infrastructure at Arup Group, Dr KK Yin.
He explained that the proposed link will cover approximately 30km, with 14km crossing Brunei Bay, which is expected to become an iconic landmark upon its completion in five years' time.
The link will start from an interchange at Jalan Penghubung Mentiri through a series of tunnels within Bukit Subok, before crossing the scenic Brunei Bay.
From the first navigation span, the Brunei Channel Bridge, the link will skirt between Pulau Pepatan and Baru-Baru, coming to the second navigation span, the Eastern Channel Bridge, leading up to landfall at the Temburong side and the final connection to Jalan Labu.
The construction will be divided into a series of packages with the first tender slated for the fourth quarter of 2013. Dr Yin said details of the divisions are being finalised by the Ministry of Development.
"This project will provide opportunities for local professionals to be involved and to acquire experience in the construction and maintenance of various sectors of the bridge. There will be downstream benefits in terms of employment, services, trading and real estate," said the representative from Arup Group.
The Minister of Development, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman, estimated that travel between Temburong and Brunei-Muara via the bridge will take 30 to 40 minutes. Presently, the only mode of public transportation between the two districts is by boat.
"Since this bridge will become a landmark for Brunei and as it is a mega project for the Ministry of Development, (we) will ensure that all aspects of the bridge project will incorporate Bruneian characteristics reflecting a work of engineering, which we can be proud of," said the minister.
A ceremony was held at the ministry yesterday to mark the awarding of contracts to Arup Group and six local firms. The comprehensive environmental impact assessment will be carried out by MWH Consultant, while Teca (B) Sdn Bhd will conduct the soil investigation works.
Four surveyors — Taib Said, Bersatu Consultants, Perunding Services (B) and CMK Consultants — signed contracts for the geophysical marine and land surveying of Temburong and Brunei-Muara.
The Brunei Times