Mega bridge project on right track

National 6 minutes, 23 seconds


WITH construction of Brunei’s first mega bridge set for completion by end of 2018 early 2019, Temburong District will finally be directly linked to the rest of the country.

The 30-kilometre bridge, which costs approximately $1.6 million, will consist of a two-lane highway between Jalan Utama Mentiri in Brunei-Muara District and Jalan Labu in Temburong District.

Prior to the construction work, various studies and official meetings had taken place even before the announcement of the tender for pre-qualification to contractors for the proposed Temburong Bridge Project in 2013.

It was a mission impossible for Brunei as a whole, especially those in Temburong district, whose residents have been living on the other side of Bandar Seri Begawan, separated by the Brunei Channel for many centuries.

Nevertheless, in 2012, Temburong residents woke up to good news when His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, announced the start of the project in his 66th birthday titah.

In his titah, the monarch proudly announced that his government began working on details of the project following the completion of a feasibility study for the bridge that year.

$2.84 million Feasibility Study period between 2010 – 2012

The feasibility study of the bridge was carried out in 2010 by Ove Arup & Partners, which has among its credits the structural design of the Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Ove Arup & Partners is a British multinational professional services firm headquartered in London in the United Kingdom. The firm provides engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment.

The Ministry of Development and the international consultancy firm Ove Arup & Partners signed an agreement in 2010 on the feasibility study which identified the possible social, economic, environmental and political impact of the bridge’s construction on the country. Ove Arup & Partners completed the $2.84 million feasibility study in 18 months which included the route selection process, traffic impact assessment, marine impact assessment, hydraulic impact assessment, socio-economic assessment, preliminary environmental impact assessment and preliminary design. According to a slide presentation in the Public Works Department (PWD) official website, it was found out that the bridge project is “technically feasible, economically viable and environmentally acceptable”.

In a previous report, senior director of Ove Arup & Partners, Naeem U Hussain, said the 10km bridge across the Brunei Bay will be part of the estimated 30km stretch of road linking Brunei-Muara and Temburong districts. Naeem also said that the bridge will drastically cut travel time between the two districts from two hours to a mere 30 minutes.

The mega-bridge also provides job opportunities to local construction industry as well as great opportunity for the government to take advantage of the abundance of unallocated land in Temburong district which can be utilised for agricultural, tourism and housing purposes, said Naeem.

Six contract packages

The former Minister of Development, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman, said early this year that the estimated total cost for the Temburong Bridge is around $1.6 billion.

The mega-project was divided into six contract packages - CC2 (Marine Viaducts); CC3 (Navigation Bridges); CC4 (Temburong Viaduct); CC1 (Mentiri Tunnels); CC5A (Traffic Control and Surveillance System (TCSS), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA), and Road Lighting; and CC5B (Power Supply System). The CC2 package (Marine Viaducts), which the minister said was valued over $600 million, was awarded to Daelim-Swee, a joint venture between Korean construction giant Daelim Industrial Co Ltd and Swee Sdn Bhd.

The former minister of development said that the CC2 project ran smoothly as the firms have already started out the earthwork.

The Daelim-Swee joint venture was once again awarded with another project which is the CC3 package, which involves the construction of the navigational bridges that began in October this year.

One of the two navigational bridges runs from Kota Batu and Tanjung Kerasek, connecting the marine viaduct and interchanges. This single pylon cable stay bridge with two spans of 145 metres each crosses the Brunei Channel.

The second navigational bridge is a twin-pylon cable stay bridge with a main span of 260 metres and back spans of 130 metres each over the Eastern Channel. This contract package is expected to be completed within 39 months, starting from October 1 this year to February 4, 2019.

Meanwhile, the Brunei-China joint venture between China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) and Ocean Quarry & Construction Sdn Bhd was awarded the contract for CC4 Package which involves the construction of the Temburong Viaduct.

The CC4 contract involves the construction of about 11.8 kilometres of viaduct bridge across the Temburong side on the mangrove swamp area from Tanjung Kerasek to Labu in Temburong District. This also includes a smaller bridge crossing Sungai Labu and a junction treatment at Jalan Puni-Labu in Temburong. This contract is expected to be completed within 42 months starting from October 1 this year to March 29, 2019.

Land works in Brunei-Muara Section

According to the PWD official website under Proposed Temburong Bridge Project section, the CC1 (Mentiri Tunnels) will involve a total length of approximately 3.6km long short tunnels which has two entrances - Jalan Kota Batu connection and Mentiri Interchange connection.

The slideshow shows that the tunnel will go through the Mentiri Ridge overlooking the Brunei Channel. The information also shows the typical section for twin tunnel tube which is a two-lane carriageway 5.7 metres in height for each tunnel tube, equipped with ventilation space and marginal strip at the shoulder of the roads.

The website provides the envisaged tunnelling construction mechanical methods such as Roadheader, Hydraulic Excavator, Breaker and Hydraulic Splitter.

The west portal of the tunnel will be from the Jalan Utama Mentiri, while the east portal is from Temburong Bridge, according to the PWD website.

Land works in Temburong Section

The PWD website stated that the land works in Temburong “require careful considerations of working fronts and construction methods” as to consider the geological landscape.

Consideration of the environmental impact on the mangroves, rivers, possible flooding, soft ground, logistics, construction progamme and material availability were priorities, said the website. Several of the key construction issues highlighted in the slide presentation were mudflat, mangrove, peat swamp and river, said the website.

Residents affected by the project

According to previous reports, 16 families from Kg Sungai Besar, have their houses demolished recently and last year.

Kg Sg Besar Village Chief Hj Chuchu Hj Ibrahim said that all the families were all compensated with new homes in the Kg Meragang National Housing Scheme (NHS) and Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme (STKRJ) in Kg Katok.

A few of the families, consisting elderly and wheelchair users, expressed their frustrations over the inadequate compensations by the Housing Development Department. Hj Serudin Talip, 74, said the new house at Kg Katok A was not wheelchair friendly for his two children with special needs.

Labour safety issue

According to a previous report, Swee Sdn Bhd Head of Safety Livan Robert said that the construction firm and their Korean partner construction company Daelim Industrial Co Ltd, are following the Workplace Safety and Health Order 2009 set by the Labour Department.

The 2009 Order states that all employers are responsible for taking measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of their employees at work, such as ensuring that whoever is at work has adequate instruction, information, training and supervision necessary for them to perform their work.

Swee Sdn Bhd conducts a daily risk assessment for some of their 300 workers to ensure a zero hazard range and prevent construction site fatalities, said Livan.

In the daily operations at the site, there will be daily meetings and discussions among the supervisors and employees on the risk assessment before work starts, said Livan.

The Brunei Times