KUCHING: The construction of the RM10.7 billion Kuching Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is expected to commence by next year.
The LRT service is scheduled to be operational by 2024.
Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg said construction would start after a thorough review was conducted, based on the current traffic scenario, traffic demand and priority transit corridor.
He said the 155km LRT stretch will consist of three major lines.
Line One refers to Kota Samarahan to Damai, via Sungai Batu, route. This will cover 48% of the current travel demands for Kuching city.
It will be 62.4km in length and will connect 28 stations.
Line Two is the Serian-Senari route, covering 30% of the current travel demands for Kuching city.
It is 82km in length with 26 stations, starting in Serian, via Siburan, and terminates at Senari.
This line will have an interchange station, with the Kota Samarahan-Damai option, at the Simpang Tiga roundabout, he said during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
The 10.8km Line Three refers to the City Dispersal Line, connecting 13 stations.
It will be an at-grade tram system, which can better navigate urban streets, has less intrusive stops and integrates well into the concept of an urban landscape friendly to pedestrians.
The total construction cost of the 62.4km Kota Samarahan-Damai route, including rolling stock, is estimated at RM4.5 billion.
The 82km Serian-Senari route will cost RM5.4 billion, and the 10.8km City Dispersal Line RM819 million.
Abang Johari said the LRT will allow for efficient mobility in Kuching City.
It will create economic opportunities, enabling trade, and facilitate access to markets and services.
“At the same time, it will help to transform Kuching into a more dynamic and competitive city, as well as create more jobs.
“The LRT will create new transit-oriented development (TOD), traversing and linking dense residential areas, businesses, industrial areas and tourist hotspots.
“This will drive economic development of Kuching,” he said, adding that the TOD along the corridor would be examined and incorporated in line with state development plans.
He pointed out that the LRT service would use the hydrogen fuel cell train technology, that is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
“This technology is new to the rail industry and it is anticipated to be the first of its kind to be implemented in this region.
“The train is environmentally friendly as it utilises hydrogen with the by-products being only water and steam,” he added.