Penang Bridge
Penang Proudest Architecture
The Penang Bridge is no doubt one of the many architecture wonders of Penang. Ranks as the longest bridge in Asia and 5th largest in the world, the iconic bridge that took 5 years to
complete was the beloved bridge for every Penangites. It marks the new milestone that brings Penang closer to the world attention.

The dual-carriageway bridge connecting Gelugor on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia has become a
symbol of pride and national landmarks.

Its distinctive design and features saw the Penang Bridge won many awards.

  • 1986 - Grand Award in the United States of America Engineering Excellence Competition sponsored by the Council of Consulting Engineers, Washington.
  • 1993 - FIABCI Special Award (Development and Construction Phase Category) from the International Real Estate Federation of Malaysia.

The bridge also play host to an annual Penang Bridge run since its inception and has become a very popular event ever since. Local & international participant took part in a run that incorporates a marathon, a half-marathon and a quarter-marathon.

Perhaps, it was the broad & bold vision of the then prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir that the mega scale construction could be realize.

Penang Bridge View

The History of Penang Bridge
In fact, the talk about having a bridge linking to Penang was first mooted out in 1950s when traffic condition was in deep chaos. During that time, Penang economy was booming, causing a massive congestion on the Ferry terminal. Ferry’s during that time was the only mode of transport to connect Penang Island to the Mainland.

Some suggesting extending the ferry’s service, building a tunnel and some come out with the ideas of a bridge. However the bridge stood out as the firm favorites for the Penangites. Many hope that with the bridge, their long battle with endless jammed will be eliminated thus bringing in more business and prosperity to the island.

Using the Penang Bridge as manifesto, Dr Lim Chong Eu, former Chief Minister of Penang swept to a landslide victory in Penang party election in 1950s. After that, Penang Bridge has become a standing joke of town as nothing materializes. It has face many obstacle - High construction cost, opposition objection and complication of building such a massive project.

The dream of having a bridge finally triumph when Dr Mahathir took over as Malaysia prime minister. He pushed on with the mega scale project despite many objection and obstacle. His persistency and acute thinking made the reality of Penang having a bridge came true.

On 23 July 1981, Work Minister S. Samy Velu announced that the Penang Bridge would be constructed using the cable-stayed concrete girder of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge instead of the steel-tied arch in the style of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This marks the starts of massive construction projects that will be implemented.

Dr Mahathir sank the first pile of cement in April 1982 to kick off the grand projects and the dream of having a bridge in Penang finally becomes a reality. There will be no more u-turn, says a beaming Mr Loh - One of the many Penangites that supported the bridge projects from the beginning.

The Magnificent View Of Penang Bridge

The Mega Scale Construction
With the price tag of $629 million and revised for few more times up to $850 million, Penang Bridge are projected to transport up to 50,000 commuter in and out of the island. About $525 million was for the bridge itself, $180 million for the interchanges on the Prai side, and more than $30 million for land reclamation, compensation for landowner and others.

The bridge has an overall length of 13.5km, four towers in mid span his 101.5 metres tall, and is 33 metres above water. The total length of piling for the bridge is 648km, equal to the distance from Butterworth to Johor Bahru. It can withstand earthquake up to 7.5 on the Richter scale.

More than 2300 people were involved in the construction, including about 800 South Koreans from the main contractor, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. Sadly to say, twenty workers loss their life during the construction.

Between 1981 and 1985, Penangites waited eagerly as the bridge construction took shape over the horizon.

When Dreams Becomes Reality
The Penang Bridge construction was finally completed on August 1985. On Saturday, August 3, 1985, Dr Mahathir drove across the bridge in a red Proton Saga (a national car), carrying the national flag to officiate the opening ceremony. By his side was his wife Dr Siti Hasmah and in the back seat were Dr Lim Chong Eu, Works Minister S. Samy Vellu and Proton Chairman Mr. Jamil Jan.

The very next day, on September 15, 1985, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Tun Dr Awang Hassan, opened the bridge to the public and became its first user.

More than 70,000 people use the Penang Bridge daily, with the number exceeding its full capacity of 100,000 on some days. For the past 20 years, the bridge has closed the gap between the island & the mainland and provides the much needed hope and conveniences for the people of Penang.

Today, with the massive industrial and project development in the island and the mainland, the iconic Penang Bridge had start to exceed its capacity. Traffic starts to pile up especially during peak hours and festive season. The traveling speed start to go down as more vehicle plying the over the "stuff" bridge daily.

The good news is that the present government of Mr. Abdullah Badawi and now Mr. Najib Razak has approved the construction of 2nd bridge project from Batu Maung on Penang Island to Batu Kawan on the Prai side, under 9th Malaysia Plan. It will be even longer than the existing ones and will took 5 years to complete. It looks like Penangites will have another iconic structure that they can call "architecture wonders of the world". It will be more massive, costing even more, but will eventually improved traffic congestion from the mainland to the Island and vice versa for many years to come.

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Penang Bridge Details :
  • Overall Length: 13.5 km (8.4 miles)
  • Length Over Water: 8.4 km (5.2 miles)
  • Penang Island Viaduct & Approach: 1.5 km (0.9 miles)
  • Prai Approach: 3.6 km (2.2 miles)
  • Carriageway: 2 lanes per carriageway except in the central span where it is 3. Work to widen the entire bridge to 3 lanes per carriageway has begun.
  • Height of Tower Above Water: 101.5 m
  • Height of Bridge Above Water: 33 m
  • Main Span: 225 m
  • End Span: 107.5 m
  • Other Span: 40 m
  • Speed limit: 80 km/h
  • Maximum Gradient: 3.0%
  • Land Reclamation Mainland: 250 Acre
  • Land Reclamation Penang Island: 100 Acre

Toll Rate :
  • Motorcycles RM 1.40
  • Motorcycle with sidecars, cars including station wagon and commercial
    vehicles on three wheels RM 7.00
  • Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and four wheels RM 12.00
  • Lorries, vans and buses with two axles and five and six wheels RM 25.00
  • Vehicles with three axles RM 45.00
  • Vehicles with four axles RM 60.00
  • Vehicles with five and more axles RM 75.00

Facilities :
  • 24-hour closed circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at 7 locations along
    the laybys and main span.
  • 12 emergency telephones (ET) which are located along both bounds at 1.2
    km intervals on Bridge laybys and the main span.
  • HOTLINE at 1-800-88-0000.