The second Penang bridge is expected to be completed by November 2013, barring delays. The big question now is how are the roads on the island going to cope with all that traffic?
My main disappointment is that planners never thought of building an inter-city rail link to the island instead. That would have eased inter-city traffic on the existing bridge. Without a rail link, the traffic pouring into Penang will reach nightmarish proportions. Anyone who was in Penang Island over the Lunar New Year holidays will have got a taste of things to come (in terms of traffic congestion).
If a rail link had been built, then people from say, KL, could have had the option of taking a train all the way from Sentral to George Town via Batu Maung.
Work on the 23.5km road bridge, which began in 2008, was 16.7 per cent complete in August 2010, compared to the target of 18.4 per cent completion.
The privatisation committee under the PM’s Department is mulling over the concession period and toll rate for the new Bridge.
The main contractors for the second bridge are Chec Construction (M) Sdn Bhd, UEM Builders Berhad, Cergas Murni Sdn Bhd, IJM Construction Sdn Bhd and HRA Teguh Sdn Bhd.
As at 30 September 2010, 106 subcontractors had been appointed by the main contractors of which 24.5 per cent are contractors registered in Penang.