The construction of all nine bridges crossing and connecting the network of coastal roads in Sarawak is scheduled to be completed in 2024, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said that with the completion of the bridges, rural folks would no longer have to travel to the cities and back by ferry, which was time-consuming especially during festive periods and weekends.

"All the bridge projects can be carried out in three years, but what is important is that they are all toll-free,” he said in his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Igan Bridge project in Kampung Igan near here today.

The construction of the 1.38km, RM285 million Igan Bridge across Sungai Batang Igan would complement the network of coastal roads connecting Sarawak's coastal and rural areas.

He added that since the Igan Bridge would be connected to coastal roads in Mukah, it would also provide many benefits for the people, especially in terms of economic development.

The other projects connecting this network of coastal roads include in Sungai Batang Rajang, Sungai Batang Paloh, Sungai Batang Lassa, Sungai Rambungan, Sungai Batang Lupar, Sungai Batang Kemena, Sungai Krian and Sungai Batang Saribas.

Abang Johari told a media conference after the ceremony that apart from the construction of these bridges, the state government had also implemented the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) and Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (SAWAS) Scheme to further empower rural development in the state.

He said the implementation of these strategic infrastructure projects would be a catalyst to efforts to make Sarawak a development state by 2030.