Under a fiscal plan to grow the Brunei economy, the mega Temburong Bridge is edging closer to completion. The bridge is designed to connect Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital, to the Labu Estate in Temburong.
Construction of the bridge started in 2014, and it was set to be completed by the end of 2019. Being a huge 30 km in length, it comes as no surprise that completion isn’t precisely on time — but it’s impressively coming together. In fact, this 30 km bridge will overtake the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge as the longest bridge in Southeast Asia.
The estimated costs of this bridge are 1.6 billion Brunei dollars, which is just shy of USD $1.2 billion (as of January 2020). The correct term would be “investment estimate,” as opposed to “cost”, as this project is a part of an expansionary fiscal policy by the Brunei government that is aiming to boost its economy.
Not only will the bridge itself, which is close to 6 years now in construction time, increase boost demand in the economy due to its injection of government money, but it will boost the productive capacity of Brunei. The bridge will be the first road in Brunei that directly connects its mainland to Temburong, in which the South China Sea, as well as Malaysia, otherwise separates them.
This bridge will bypass the immigration checkpoints within Malaysia, making commuting to Temburong much more efficient. It is expected to reduce transportation times between Brunei and Temburong from two hours to around 30 minutes. This is a huge difference for commuters, and may now provide many more options for some regarding their job options. This will potentially become a more efficient trade route too.
The construction of the bridge was separated into six different packages. Package CC4, which is the fully fabricated viaduct that is designed to get over the mangrove swamp in Labu Forest Reserve, was allocated to Chinese contractors, China State Construction Engineering Corporate Limited (CSSECL).
According to Jin Chunshang, the manager of CSCEC, the contractors began the CC4 section in October 2015. The section was just recently completed by CSCEC, which was 12 kilometers in length.
Jin Chunshang told Xinhua News that the CC4 section was extremely difficult and “harsh”. The contractors had to overcome the humid weather with no freshwater, no power lines or network signals during the beginning stages of the construction. The CC4 section was deemed the most complex and difficult, mostly because it crosses rainforests, which must be preserved as much as possible and not affected.
CSCEC achieved this by making use of “fishing technology” which allowed them to preserve the rainforest vegetation below by using mechanical equipment, keeping things off the ground.
The resulting bridge will certainly become a new landmark of Brunei, as it’s by far the most complex and grand infrastructure project within the country.
The president of the Chinese Enterprise Association in Brunei, Wang Xiaolin, claimed: “the successful completion of the CC4 section fully demonstrates the technological strength and innovation capability of Chinese companies, and has generated good economic and social results”.
After yet another successful contracting project completed by a Chinese engineering firm, their reputation is only getting stronger as a means to facilitate economic development projects.