National Development Plan projects on course amid COVID-19

James Kon

Several projects under the National Development Plan are moving forward smoothly. They are expected to be completed on time after experts and materials were sourced locally following a shortage of equipment and material due to disruption in supplies because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar made these comments during an inspection of projects under the Public Works Department yesterday.

“I can see that the projects are going on smoothly despite facing challenges from the impact of COVID-19. Although some projects were experiencing delays, measures were taken and the projects are back on track,” the minister said in an interview.

“As we saw today, some projects are expected to be completed by next year. The monitoring of the projects were not only carried out during the implementation stage, but also when the projects first started. The Ministry of Development will continue to monitor the work carried out under the National Development Plan to ensure that the projects meet its objectives,” he said.

Explaining about the main challenges from COVID-19, Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said most materials are from overseas like pumps, machines and even experts.

“However we managed to address the issue internally. We have local experts to replace those from overseas. Some material were sourced locally, especially for the construction of the Kampong Lugu flyover. As a result, the project was not affected and will be completed on time,” he said.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar being briefed on the Kampong Lugu Flyover Construction Project; and the minister taking a closer look at flood mitigation scheme project site for upstream and downstream of Sungai Tutong. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

He added that locals, who are new engineers have been engaged, with them being trained and observed.

“Through this, we can address the unemployment issue we are facing in the moment,” the minister said.

On the frequent flooding in some areas in the Tutong District, he said, “We cannot immediately resolve flooding. The public has to understand that it’s a frequent issue. We are tackling the issue in two approaches – the engineering approach and the non-engineering approach.”

He said the non-engineering approach is to move the people out of areas that are frequently flooded and hard to access while the engineering approach is mitigating flooding.

“We will continue to address the issue of flooding. More projects will be implemented in the next National Development Plan,” Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said.

Besides observing Jalan Tutong Lama, the minister visited the construction of flyover for Kampong Lugu as well as the flood mitigation scheme projects for upstream and downstream of Sungai Tutong.

Both projects are under the 11th National Development Plan.

The repair works of Jalan Tutong Lama is one of the projects under the plan of the Public Works Department (JKR), Ministry of Development which include upgrading, and re-layer of part of the road.

The project will take 12 months to be completed and is awaiting permission for implementation. The work includes repairing the damaged road surface. The work also includes the drainage system repairs and widening of the road from the junction of Jalan Jerudong for 500m.

The construction of Kampong Lugu flyover is carried out by JKR while Bolton Hennessey Sdn Bhd is the consultant and Hiew HY Construction Sdn Bhd the project contractor.

Started in November 2019, the project is expected to be completed by November 2021 and will cost around BND12.9 million.

The project’s objective is to provide travel facilities to the public, especially residents in the area.

Once the project is completed, it will shorten travelling time for road users heading to the Brunei-Muara District without having to use Jalan Tutong Lama or U-turn on the Muara-Tutong Highway.

The work includes upgrading the entry and exit roads from Kampong Lugu housing, construction of a flyover, land work, construction of concrete drainage, pavement work, installing road safety equipment and the implementation of work protection and transfer of basic facilities.

Meanwhile flood mitigation scheme projects for upstream and downstream of Sungai Tutong have been implemented to reduce flooding in a number of areas like Kampong Ukong, Kampong Panchong, Kampong Rambai and other areas. Both projects cost BND20.5 million and are expected to be completed by April 14, 2021.

Deputy Minister of Development Dato Seri Paduka Ar Awang Haji Marzuke bin Hj Mohsin and officials from the various departments under the ministry accompanied the minister.