A bridge to future

|     Hakim Hayat     |

THE opening of the Sungai Kebun Bridge tomorrow night is set to be yet another historic event and a grand spectacle as the nation celebrates the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne.

The much-anticipated opening ceremony of the 750-metre-long bridge, the Sultanate’s first cable-stayed bridge that links the capital to Kampong Sungai Kebun, will also see the Brunei River, home to the iconic Kampong Ayer, transform into a sea of colours with a river float procession and a first-of-its-kind fireworks that is set to dazzle spectators.

His Majesty, Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam and members of the royal family are expected to join the people of Brunei on the glorious occasion, the sectoral committee of the event said in a press conference held at the Ministry of Development (MoD) building in Old Airport yesterday.

The press conference was jointly chaired by executive members of Jawatankuasa Sektoral Keraian Daerah-Daerah dan Mukim and also Jawatankuasa Sektoral Perasmian dan Peringatan Kenang-Kenangan of the Golden Jubilee Celebration including Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA); Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin, Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the MoD; Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT); Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Haji Kamaluddin bin Haji Bungsu, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

All members of the public are welcome to witness the historic occasion that will start at 7.30pm tomorrow. The organisers urged them to come out in droves to express their appreciation and joy to His Majesty on the monarch’s wise leadership over the last five decades which has enabled rapid developments in the country and also on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebration.

Shedding more light on the evening’s programme, Haji Marzuke said that the main event will be focussed around the Tarindak D’Seni vicinity along the Jalan Residency Promenade where Their Majesties are expected to launch the bridge and later view the floats procession and fireworks.

Members of the Jawatankuasa Sektoral Perarakan Jubli Emas during the press conference. – HAKIM HAYAT

The most anticipated moment in the three-in-one event will be a two-part fireworks display that will illuminate the new bridge and the Brunei River, put up by a renowned international fireworks show manager. The first fireworks display will start following the launch and a 20-minute finale will take place after the conclusion of the float procession.

Those who wish to have a good view of the fireworks and floats procession can line along Dermaga Diraja, Jalan Residency Promenade and also the Eco-Corridor Park that will be open for the evening. Other areas along the route of float procession will also be open to the public to view the event while areas in the capital, including Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, will remain open for the public’s convenience and will feature various activities and entertainment for people of all ages.

No road closures will be effected in the capital during the event but members of the public are advised to come early and car pool to avoid heavy congestion. Over 3,000 car parking areas will be available at parking lots around the capital and those parking areas under the management of the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board and private companies will be open free of charge from 5pm on Saturday.

Haji Marzuke also advised the public to avoid the bridge area that will be closed in the evening and also the construction sites along Jalan Residency for their own safety.
Relevant authorities, including hundreds of personnel from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), will be present throughout the event to direct traffic to designated parking areas and maintain order and safety of the public.

Meanwhile, sharing more details on the decorated floats and boats procession that will commence following the new bridge launch and first part of the fireworks display, Dr Haji Abdul Manaf said that some 39 creative and colourful float designs put up by various government and private sector agencies will sail past for about 45 minutes from Kampong Tamoi Ujong and make their way along the Dermaga Diraja, Jalan Residency Promenade to finally reach the Sungai Kebun Bridge. A cultural performance will also enliven the evening during the float procession.

Abdul Mutalib also appealed to the public to maintain cleanliness of the capital during the event and make use of designated bins provided in the areas and be mindful of their safety, especially children.

The public are also advised to obey traffic rules and regulations on that day to avoid congestion and boat operators are advised to obey closures along the route of the decorated floats and boats procession during the event.

The B$139-million bridge that spans the iconic Kampong Ayer, linking Jalan Residency in the capital to Kampong Sungai Kebun in Mukim Lumapas, is built under the 10th National Development Plan (RKN10). It is set to be another landmark in the capital once it is fully operational and open to the public.