BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Residents of the remotest district of Brunei are anticipating a unification of the four districts of the sultanate that will lead to a boost in both domestic and international tourism as well as shorter travel time once the cross-sea Temburong bridge is completed.
Temburong, the easternmost district in Brunei, is separated from the rest of the country by Limbang, Malaysia. According to Brunei's Ministry of Finance and Economy, approximately 10,100 of the country's 400,000 residents lived in Temburong in 2017.
Despite being Brunei's second largest district, boasting an area of 1,306 square km, a majority of the district is uninhabited and covered by virgin forest.
Construction of the 30-km bridge connecting Temburong with the rest of Brunei began in 2014. The cross-sea bridge is scheduled to be completed in November.
The bridge is being built by the Chinese state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and South Korean company Daelim.
The CSCEC is overseeing the building of the 12-km land viaducts while Daelim is responsible for the construction of the 18-km marine viaducts and navigation bridges.
Upon completion, the bridge will take over the title of the longest bridge in Southeast Asia, dethroning the Second Penang Bridge in Malaysia.
Currently, residents of the district have to travel through Limbang to get to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei's capital city. It also requires the travelers to pass through several immigration check points. The Temburong bridge will bypass these checkpoints and cut travel time from two hours to only 45 minutes.
Photographer Malek Ridhwan believed that the Temburong bridge would be able to draw in foreign and local tourists once completed.
"This bridge will be our next notable landmark in Brunei and even ASEAN," said the Temburong resident.
"This will connect Temburong and the other three districts, uniting Brunei. This will be the first time this has happened since the 1880s," he said.
Malek said the bridge could also enable the sultanate to host more local and international sporting events.
Temburong plays host to a number of sporting events every year designed to showcase the beauty of the district's natural environment.
"Organisers will be able to host a marathon or cycling race across the whole of Brunei now. Hopefully it will help improve the tourism industry by putting Brunei on the map," he said.
The Borneo Post recently reported that Sarawak government of Malaysia believed that the completion of the bridge could help spur the Malaysian state's economy.
Malaysia's Deputy Chief Minister Awang Tengah, who is also the Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, was quoted as saying that proposed joint activities such as cycling, powerboat racing and marathons will create economic spill-over to Temburong and its Malaysian neighbors Limbang and Lawas.