First Of Four Baleh HEP Bridges Linking Kapit To Putai Completed

Open To Public Use In November

KUCHING, 29th Oct, SUNDAY: The 1285MW Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP), being built by State-owned energy developer Sarawak Energy and scheduled for completion in 2025/2026, is opening up the more remote parts of Kapit Division and connecting villages to the main town.

A total of four bridges linking Kapit town to the project site in Putai will be constructed as part of the Alternative Road package to Baleh HEP. Once all four bridges have been built, the linked road will provide direct access from Kapit to the dam site and will benefit longhouses located along the route when the spur roads are constructed.

The first of the four bridges is now completed and is scheduled for non-commercial public usage by 1 November, with the other three bridges expected to be completed by mid-2018. Constructed over Sungai Usun, the bridge links existing logging roads on the south bank of the Baleh River.

To maximise Sarawakian content and ensure more benefits accrue to the local community, four construction packages were awarded to local contractors including this Alternative Road package being constructed by ForHil Sdn Bhd from Nanga Gaat.

In addition to engaging with the local business community, Sarawak Energy is also working with various stakeholders in Kapit to implement various social investment programmes focusing on education, capacity building and skills development to ensure that the resident population is able to take full advantage of employment opportunities opened up by the HEP project. It is estimated that during peak construction, as many as 3,500 jobs will be available.

These initiatives form part of Sarawak Energy’s commitment towards sustainable and socially responsible hydropower development to deliver additional benefits to project-affected local communities under the Baleh HEP which includes processes in accordance with the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HASP) guidelines.

The construction of Baleh HEP was endorsed by the State in 2016. The main civil works of Baleh HEP was awarded recently and will commence their part of the site works in October 2018. This project is expected to be fully commissioned by 2026.

The newly completed bridge crossing Sungai Usun, one of the four bridges linking the Alternative Road from Kapit to Putai, will open for public use in November.