BRUNEI MUARA- The Temburong bridge — slated to become Southeast Asia’s longest oversea bridge — is now 75 percent complete and on track to meet its November 2019 deadline.

The $1.6 billion project is expected to open to public in 2020 after the completion of fixing works which will take three to five months, Development Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar said on Thursday.

HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office paid a working visit to the Temburong bridge project sites in Kota Batu in Brunei-Muara and Labu Estate in Temburong, where his delegation inspected the single tower cable-stayed bridge that connects the northern and southern ramps on Jalan Kota Batu and the marine viaducts that cross the Brunei Bay.

In August last year, an accident at one of the bridge towers claimed the lives of three workers, and construction work was halted pending an investigation.

“Investigation on the accident has been completed and revealed that it was caused by human error,” Dato Hj Suhaimi said, disclosing that a crane bucket was being used to lift workers after working hours.

“They were not supposed to use the [crane] bucket… somehow there was an error during the [operation of the bucket].”

HRH the Crown Prince being briefed on the progress of the Temburong bridge during a site visit on February 14, 2019. Photo: Hazimul Wa’ie/The Scoop

The minister stressed that the authorities will ensure contractors comply with all safety requirements and not go beyond office hours without special approval.

The bridge is one the largest public infrastructure projects in Brunei, linking Brunei-Muara to Temburong, and is expected to reduce travel time between the two districts by allowing commuters to bypass Limbang, Malaysia.

Plans for the bridge began in 2009 with the Ministry of Development opening a tender to study the bridge’s feasibility.

In 2014, construction of the billion-dollar bridge began after the government awarded the contracts to South Korean firm Daelim and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

The crown prince also held a meeting with the Temburong District Development Authority and visited several other sites in the green district on Thursday, including the Temburong Labu Control Post, Bukit Patoi Recreational Park and the National Service Programme Training Camp.