2nd Penang Bridge
A New Architecture Wonders!

The good news is out! Penangites will finally get their wishes of having a 2nd Penang Bridge to connect Penang Island to Penang Mainland. Years of hard time enduring massive jammed will soon be in our memories, say Mr. Choo, one of the many Penangites that need to braze heavy jammed every day just to commuted from his home at Bukit Mertajam in the Mainland to Bayan Lepas in the Island side for work. It is the nightmare that I really want to forget, he added.

When the news broke out after Mr. Abdullah (Malaysia prime minister) who was in Penang recently to launched the construction of a second Penang bridge, Penangites of all walks of live celebrate the occasion in a jubilant mood.

You can see this by the big "smile" on Mr. Koh Tsu Koon face, the current Penang chief minister. It is a gift that everyone was waiting on for years. The bridge construction is just the 'tip of the iceberg' in the whole Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) project that will see the transformation of Penang into a modern, vibrant city and a major logistics and transportation hub.

According to Mr. Abdullah, the 3 billion (US826 million) bridge will be part of a national development plan to boost the country’s economy in the northern region. At the same time, Penang International Airport and the Penang Port would be upgraded to support the second Penang Bridge as a gateway to the northern corridor so as to enhance and promote the economic growth of the neighboring states. The proposed 23-kilometer (15-mile) bridge linking the town of Batu Maung on the island and Batu Kawan on the mainland is expected to start in 2008 and be completed by 2013. It will be another architecture wonders of Penang and will provide a catalyst for the development of the northern corridor.

With the 2nd Penang Bridge, trade associate with high scale activities at the Penang International Airport and the Penang Port will also be increase multiple-fold in terms of import and export business. But the most thing to look forward to for many Penangites is that, with the 2nd Penang bridge, traffic congestion from the current Penang bridge will be reduce significantly as it is already exceeded the capacity.

The scenic 2nd Penang Bridge will have two lane with a separate motorcycle lane covers a span of 250 meters across, and 17 kilometers of the stretch will be over water. The new bridge which will have a middle cable stayed span will look much like the present Penang Bridge. The earlier bridge design with 2 observation platform has been scrapped due to high cost.

China, who has vast expertise and know-how in building such a massive bridge will provide the RM2.7bil (US$800mil) loan. Repayment period will be 3% per annum over 20 years, is the most favorable offered to a foreign country. This project will be overseen by United Engineers (Malaysia) Bhd (UEM), a major infrastructure player linked with the Malaysia government and the construction will be carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).

The company will use the technology of pre-fabricated box beam, called the 'short-line matching' technology, to produce short sections of beams, each measuring 3 to 4 meters. This new technology will enables the bridge to withstand the impact from an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale. There will be about 1,000 engineers and technicians from China involved ensuring that the project can be completed on time. Most of them will be station permanently in Penang for about 3 to 4 years.

Well, the good news is really something great to look forward too. Not only that; it had became a hot debate in coffee shop. School children up to working adult, starts to discuss on how the new bridge is going to provide positive impact to their life.

For some, the second Penang bridge is going to be just another bridge but for the Penangites (including me), it will be an important milestone that will forever change the image on Penang in the eyes of the world.

Latest news!
Second Penang Bridge is now 70% completed 3.5% ahead of its schedule. Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, a concessionaire for the Second Penang Bridge is confident that the bridge will be opened to public in November 2013 as scheduled. Motorists will have to pay RM7 to use the 2nd Penang Bridge, until 2038.

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