The development of the Pan Borneo Highway continues with the launch of eight packages for the Sarawak portion of the highway. The packages, which are part of the 11 designated under the route alignment for the state, were launched by prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday, Bernama reports.

The eight packages are the Sematan-Sungai Moyan Bridge (95 km), Pantu Interchange-Batang Skrang (89 km), Batang Skrang-Sungai Awik Bridge (68 km), Sungai Awik Bridge-Bintangor Interchange (64 km), Sungai Kua Bridge-Sungai Arip Bridge (64 km), Sungai Arip Bridge-Bintulu Interchange (65 km), Bakun Interchange-Sungai Tangap (77 km) and the Sungai Tangap Interchange-Pujut Link Road (80 km).

Najib said the RM12.5 billion development will form the first phase of the 1,089 km-long Sarawak portion of the highway, which is expected to be completed at the same time as the Sabah portion, in 2021. It was previously reported that the stretch would be fully operational by 2023.

The Sarawak section of the route will be built at a total cost of RM16 billion. Construction began last year with the Nyalau-Bakun Junction Road in Bintulu – the 43 km-long stretch is expected to be completed sometime in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Sabah stretch will cost RM13 billion, and construction will reportedly be divided into 35 packages. The work will also include upgrading stretches of the highway into a four-lane, dual carriageway. When fully completed, the toll-free highway will link both states over a 2,239 km-long route.