by chong kah yuan
GEORGE TOWN: The RM4.5bil second Penang bridge will be opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at 8.30pm today.
A host of dignitaries, including former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is expected to travel in an open top double-decker bus from the Batu Maung interchange on the island to the Batu Kawan interchange on the mainland.
The public can begin using the bridge from the stroke of midnight.
The first 1,000 vehicles crossing the bridge from the Batu Kawan interchange will receive certificates from bridge concessionaire Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB).
The 24km-long bridge, with 16.9km of it over water, is the longest in South-East Asia. It took six years to complete.
New link: An aerial view of the second Penang bridge which is the longest one in South-East Asia.Abdullah performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the project in Batu Kawan on Nov 12, 2006, but actual construction only began two years later.
By comparison, the first Penang bridge is 13.5km-long and was opened to the public in 1985. Construction started three years earlier.
The first bridge has a capacity of 155,000 vehicles per day compared to 120,000 vehicles before the bridge expansion.
An aerial view of the RM4.5bil second Penang bridge, which will be opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at 8.30pm today.The second Penang bridge, however, will have a capacity of 100,000 vehicles per day.
JKSB public relations and communications deputy manager Azizi Azizan said the second bridge would offer a shorter route for those travelling from the mainland to the Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau areas.
Longest Bridge In Southeast Asia Opens Today In Penang
Another benchmark foe Malaysia. /Google ImagesKUALA LUMPUR: The Second Penang Bridge, the longest bridge in Southeast Asia, opens tonight, easing traffic in the rapidly industrialising northern state of Penang.
Totalling 24 km in length, it will take motorists around 20 minutes to cross the RM4.5 billion bridge from Batu Kawan on the mainland and Batu Maung on the island.
Penang island already has another bridge linking it to the mainland. The first bridge opened in 1985 but the state’s rising population and popularity with visitors meant that another bridge was needed to cope with traffic.
The new bridge is expected to ease traffic by 25 per cent and will it last for the next 120 years, according to its concessionaire, Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB).
One of the big questions posed by Penangites had been: why is the bridge not straight, but curved? Would not a straight bridge costs less?
JKSB construction director Hamizol Ngah was quoted in English daily The Star in November 2012 saying that the curvy design deliberately chosen to reduce traffic accidents.
“This is to prevent drivers from getting drowsy, discourage speeding and improve road concentration,” said Hamizol.
“Such a design requirement was not mooted for the 8.4 km Penang Bridge as it is shorter.”
Penangites might also question why the design is so similar to the first bridge.
Initially, there were plans for two viewing platforms, complete with restaurants, but that was scrapped due to a lack of funds. The platforms would have added another RM600mil to the cost.
/The Malay Mail
The plan for a second bridge was unveiled by Putrajaya in the Ninth Malaysia Plan in August 2006, and the groundbreaking ceremony was held three months later.
The project was announced by Malaysia’s then fifth prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, himself a Penangite, three years after he took over from his predecessor.
Beijing-based China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) won the main contract for the first package, which included the bridge and foundation works.
According to Reuters CHEC is China’s largest international contractor and the second-largest dredging company in the world, with projects mostly in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The second major package which included structures for the approaches to the bridge was constructed by UEM Builders Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of local conglomerate UEM Group.
UEM’s previous projects included the North-South Expressway, the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, and RapidKL’s light rail transit (LRT) system.
The project commenced in November 2008 after a nine-month delay due to land acquisition and design issues, in addition to the rising costs of building materials.
CHEC and UEM previously announced that the bridge will be completed by 2011, but it was not until April 2013 that construction of the main span was completed, physically connecting Batu Kawan and Batu Maung.
The bridge had been previously scheduled to open in November last year.
The delay was also partly caused by a collapse of the ramp in the Batu Maung interchange leading to the bridge in June 2013, causing one death.
Around 10,000 revellers are expected to attend the launch by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tonight.
Motorists will be charged a toll rate between RM7 and RM10 starting from March 2, according to JKSB.
10,000 to attend Penang bridge opening
By Mohd Hilmi MahmudFebruary 27, 2014
The Second Penang Bridge will be open on March 1, 2014. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
GEORGE TOWN, Feb 27 — Police will deploy about 500 officers to ensure the mammoth crowd of 10,000 visitors is safe during the opening of the Second Penang Bridge on Saturday.
Balik Pulau district police chief Supt Lai Fah Hin said the police officers would also be assigned to the “Mai Riuh” carnival to be held in conjunction with the official opening.
He said the event, organised by Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, would be held from morning until midnight at a site within the Batu Maung interchange on the island.
About 5,000 visitors were expected to attend the programme starting from 8am, and another 10,000 visitors would be present for the bridge opening by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
There will be 15 shuttle buses to take visitors from the car park in Hilir Sungai Kluang to the carnival site.
Lai told reporters at the Balik Pulau district police headquarters that all roads leading to the new bridge would be closed at 5pm.
“Our traffic personnel will be around to guide motorists heading to the carnival and the opening ceremony,” he said.
RapidPenang will provide 19 free shuttle buses for visitors on Saturday.
Its operations chief executive, Khairul Hafiz Kassim, said two buses would ply along Teluk Kumbar and Bukit Jambul to ferry commuters to the carnival site from 10am at 40-minute intervals
“The remaining 15 buses will be plying around the special public car park area in Hilir Sungai Kluang to pick up motorists heading to the carnival site,” he said.
“Motorists however must use the same numbered-bus to go to the carnival and when they return.”
The Penang Second Bridge is 24km, making it the longest in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Costing RM4.5 billion, its construction started in 2008.
It serves as a second crossing between the mainland and the island after the first bridge was opened in 1985 and is expected to ease traffic on the first bridge by 20 to 30 per cent.