Second Penang bridge: Foresight – or folly?

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Spotted this letter in theSun today about the second Penang bridge (now in the preliminary stages of construction). It mirrors my thoughts exactly.

Penang’s roads are already congested during peak hours, Friday and Saturday evenings, and festive periods – and that is with three lanes of traffic along the newly widened Penang Bridge pouring into the island. What happens when the second bridge creates two or three additional lanes of vehicles flowing into the island?

No need for second link

I AM a resident of Penang Island and a regular user of the Penang Bridge. Every day the traffic report on the radio nearly always has the same good news for users of the bridge like me: “Clear on both lanes and at the entry and exit points both on the mainland and on the island.”

The bridge used to be clogged up before and during its expansion and made worse by the closure of one lane on each side of the midspan due to cable replacement work on the suspension section of the bridge. Since all this work was completed and the bridge’s six lanes opened several months ago, its been a breeze! Congratulations to all for the great work. There has not been any major traffic congestion that I personally have experienced nor heard of since.

This begs the questions: is the Second Link really necessary? If it were my project, I’d be having second thoughts about its viability. It is longer, therefore users will be charged more than the current RM7 for the Penang Bridge. Will there be enough traffic to enable me to pay back the loan for building the bridge?

In my honest opinion, I would say we don’t need the Second Link. What the island does need is a good, solid integrated public transport system. This should be provided by buses, light rail, trams and taxis. Visitors to the island should be discouraged from driving there.

Instead they should be given incentives and encouraged to park their cars in Butterworth and use public transport to get to and travel around the island. Perhaps there could be a new business of providing rental of electric or alternative energy vehicles, motorbikes or bicycles if visitors do need personal transportation. With less traffic on the island, I can see tourism prospering, local residents enjoying a better quality of life and visitors having a more relaxed time in sunny Penang.

This is the Penang I would like to see. We don’t need more roads and bridges to add to the congestion, or more valuable land going towards accommodating more roads. Where will it end?

My vision for Penang is an end to the constant city traffic crawl, for it to be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, and a good integrated public transport system. That is the Penang I would like to live in and I think visitors would like to visit. It can then be called the Pearl of the Orient again. But it may be too late, the second link is already being built.

Hymeir K.
Batu Ferringhi

Wouldn’t a shuttle bus service along the bridge, along with significant improvements in the ferry service, reduce traffic even further? What do you think?

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SouthOfPenang

I guess even Penangites forget that Penang is not only the area close to the bridge. There’s also the south like Tambun which can really benefit from a second bridge down south. There’s a lot of areas to develop but not enough work because all the high-tech working center in island area. When the second bridge is there, development will come. Investors may also look south of Penang for setting up high-tech – with easier link to island. Property values will go up… and maybe then, there’ll be less congestion on island as there’d be 2 exit points instead of… Read more »

Karen

anil, what happens if penang bridge collapsed and ferry is limited to ferrying vehicles per day?
what option penang has at that moment?

sumathi

also govt is blindly giving permission to builders to reclaim the land from the queensbay stretch upto jetty & build expensive super condos – when existign condos are half empty in many cases…see bay star opposite q’bay mall – not occupied even 50% – exit / entry is terribly congested & they wanna build few more condos in front of gold coast condo now – when will they learn – even this PG govt is no better than the ruling party.

u-turn

Hello Aniel,

to solve the problem of congestion on the bridge or to scrap the 2nd bridge is easy. Scrap the toll. I bet you no more queue.

Do not believe me and trial for 2 weeks. Convince yourself.

wira

Talking about traffic jams on the island.

Don’t you people realise that on every working day morning, between 7.30~8.30am, there is a huge jam stretching 1.5 to 2.0 kilometres at the Penang bridge coastal road in the direction of Free Industrial Zone factories?

The cause for all this is because some idiots in government, sometime early this millennium, apparently decided to narrow the coastal road to a 2 lane expressway so that a cheaper pedestrian overhead bridge may be built thereby creating this unnecessary and energy wasting bottleneck.

Motorist

Every time I visit Penang, I have no choice but to drive to each destination. The option of parking & going around in public transport isnt available. There just isnt any decent public transport (then again, neither has KL) say from Batu Feringgi to George Town. The taxi drivers are pirates who extort a fee as high as a king’s ransom. To be a tourist destination isnt just about 5 star hotels & beautiful beaches. Its about “the whole experience” – from accommodation, food, leisure, getting about, shopping, locals attitude to tourists etc (time to learn from the Thai’s on… Read more »

gtchye

The number of people going into Penang Island depends on the people, NOT the number of bridges. It is ridiculous to assume that if 100,000 cars travel to Penang on a bridge, there will be 200,000 cars travelling to Penang with 2 bridges, 300,000 cars on 3 bridges, etc. A second bridge provides for more areas for development like Batu Maung and Batu Kawan. Population in Penang Island is increasing and will continue to increase. People need to move out of their traditional areas of living to newly developed areas. When the first bridge was being constructed, people were saying… Read more »

cheahst

Hi Folks allow me to give some insight into ERP & COE: COE is a failure becos it penalises car ownership. in fact, if i have already paid COE for 10yrs, i might as well use my car as much as i can, right? ERP cashes in on car usership, which makes more sense, ie pay per use. If i own 2 cars, but park at home, it doesn’t cause congestion so no ERP charges. If there is ERP, there shd be no more road taxes, else its a double charge! In Sgp, COE was suppose to be temporary measure… Read more »

looes74

Yes Joshua, Keep the bridge. Implement ERP system to control the traffic. Money generated from ERP & possibly COE goes into improving public transport

One stone kill 2 birdies

People,
Always remember! It’s Economy, Stupid! Even Deng Xiao Peng knows that. Got money. Can spend. No money, how to spend

Gerakan K

So, don’t talk c… when BN government pays the project bills. Be cooperative instead of always complaining. Appreciate what you get now.

Ahmad Syafiq

Wow, I think Gerakan K had his screw loose for a long time already. He expects, us, the people, to thank BN for the development that they do. Well, let me give a simple explanation to Gerakan K. 1st, it is the DUTY of the government to PROVIDE development to the people. 2nd, development projects come from a source of money. Does the development money come out of thin air? Oh ya, I created RM10 billion. Here you go, use that thin-air money for whatever development. Nope, it doesn’t work that way. Where does the money come from? (ANSWER: TAXES.… Read more »

Gerakan K

Ha ha Ahmad,

you are still very academic. In theory your logic is correct, but in practice there is no law to force BN to do so except some limited areas as defined in constitution. BN government optionally provide infrastructure development in Penang via this bridge. Mind you, BN government may channel this project fund elsewhere. Is that wrong to ask state government to cooperate with federal government ???

Joshua

Hi, just adding my 2 cents worth. The 2nd bridge has its pros and cons. True that its bringing more traffic into the island but its mostly traffic that is already going to come into the island anyway like people working in the FTZ and transporters for the factories. Would it encourage more traffic into the island on weekends? Most probably especially from the mainlanders who come here to shop and eat. I belief that we need the 2nd link and better public transport on the island. Its like how the Singaporeans are open to the idea of a 2nd… Read more »

Seage

Penang for the next Venice?

Charging levy on outstation car may be an idea, but I reckon many Penangites working outstation would also be driving in and out of the island on an outstation registered plate? no?

daniel

I think the 2nd Bridge should be replaced with Sky Train. I rather park my car in Bukit Mertajam and then take sky train to go around Penang Island.

Chinaman

Ong Eu Soon, your comment on LGE is out of point. The 2nd link was propose before PR took over Penang. Can LGE reject it just like the crooked bridge in Johore? How much compensation will the Government need to fork out then. Afterall this is a Federal project. Maybe we should put as CM of Penang.

Ong Eu Soon

Then tell me why Anwar openly disagree with LGE on the location for second bridge? If he dare not make any decision for Penang then he should resign as CM. If he still pursuing the policies and projects of KTK, tell me why should we vote for him.

Yang

Ong Eu Soon, Decision has to be unanimous and the decision on the location of the bridge lies in the Federal government and the engineering consultants who have gave their view on the site suitability.. And the site is Batu Maung. Are you just dumb or plain ignorant. Maybe LGE should also resign just because you also openly disagree with his decision isn`t it. Come man, the decision lies not just on you or Anwar but the people of Penang. Whether you wanted to vote him in or not is your own business but the fact is that our vote… Read more »

Tan Jo

Well Anil, you’ve only considered the traffic traveling from mainland to island to justify the increased number of cars on Penang Island..

But what about the cars that leave the island using the extra bridge?

It could also mean that with an alternative, there will be a redistribution of cars/people away from Georgetown, e.g. less people in P.Tikus on Saturday evenings, etc.

SamG

One key reason why Ferry is losing money is also the fare collection system. Since it is cheaper to travel by bridge, many come into to the island by Bridge and return “free” by ferry.
Please do look into ways of charging for the ferry ride BOTH WAYS. It least the “lost fares” are not taken away by the bridge operator.
Only then the ferry operators will have the money to run the service.

Gerakan K

Imagine there is a need to evacuate all people in Penang. This second bridge is important. Secondly, please thank BN government for this project.

Yang

GK,
Not necessary,Penangite are one of the highest contributors of tax to the federal government.

KM

Please remember people, this second bridge was approved when? If there is no second bridge construction, where are BN goons going to … survive (with big cars and mistresses to support), what do you expect the current Gomen to do? Don’t just complaints this and that, Penang does not need (my personal opinion) second bridge maybe for another 10~15 years, but, after that, time will tell, I strongly believe other transportation mode (ie: MRT/LRT train and comprehensive feeder bus) should be a better and sustainable mode. But, what choice does the former or present gomen has? Penang is at the… Read more »

yang

wira, agree with you

reme

i do think u need the 2nd bridge to facilitate the movement of people. sure, people will have to pay more etc. and yes, it would be jammed in a few yrs’ time, adding to the woes of penang roads. but to say don’t build it is like saying let’s not have the north-south expressway because it will only ensure that more cars from the south will come to the north. leave cars at butterworth? no one will do that. simply because once u are on the island, there will then be no mobility unless u tell me there is… Read more »

whispering9

Penang’s island size is 295 km2 with an estimated population of 678,000++; a density of 2300++ residents/km2. Singapore size is 637.5 km2 with an estimated population of 4.2 mil++; a density of 6600++ residents/km2. Maybe the solution is in a more modern city infrastructure and urban planning. The 2nd link can become part of an urban renewal when implemented properly and professionally. So Wira is perhaps correct in that observation. The previous state government has not been proactive in this aspect(an observation by LKY). Hopefully, the present administration can do a better work. I still remember the strong objection when… Read more »

wira

The 2nd bridge will open up Teluk Kumbar, all the way to Balik Pulau for development on the land scarce island.

Those who use the old link will continue to use it.
Frankly, I don’t think vehicles in Georgtown will dramatically increase as a result of the 2nd link. Whatever increases it took, that had already happened with the additional lanes to the existing link.

I tend to believe that the island would be more evenly developed if the 2nd link were completed.

Bigjoe

To answer the question, the question of what is “need” in the first place. When the writer calls for “solid” public transport system, does he know what he is talking about in terms of efficiency and cost? The fact of the matter is urban development require incredible planning and cost. You are essentially squeezing more and more people on fixed square area went cost goes up over time and the resident demand for services ALSO goes up in quantity AND quality. For all intended practical purpose, DAP has no choice in the matter. It needs to go ahead with the… Read more »

Randy Aslan

Actually what Penang need are good ferries and good roads and not a second bridge. What Labuan need is a first and only bridge to mainland Sabah. Please federal government, think of who voted you to become the government of the days if not the people from Sabah and Sarawak. Don’t be seperti kacang lupakan kulit. You need Sabah and Sarawak very much, likewise, Sabahan and Sarawakian need you to develop the two states. Don’t forget that.

Yang

Congestion in Penang should not be wholly blamed on the cars coming into Penang through the bridges or ferry. In fact you need them for the businesses and economy to thrive. Year end year out it is always the same especially during festive season. Congestion should be blamed on the road side hawkers and coffee shop that occupied the whole stretch of road as if they owned it. Example : Farlim & along Perak road. Hawkers should be taken off the road and put into complexes with car park facilities and not being haphazardly done as in the past 18… Read more »

j.a

I AGREE.

Ong Eu Soon

The second bridge linking Batu Kawan to Batu Maung. Even at present moment, the Batu Kawan’s exit from North South Highway is already congested all the way to the toll booth. With the second bridge the traffic will be reduced to a crawl. How to overcome the traffic congestion at North south Highway approaching the Batu Kawan’s exit is already a challenge for the authorities. But LGE can disregard about all this because he can not afford to reject any project from any source. He believe he need to show he has DEVELOPMENT for Penang even if he receive a… Read more »

Anti-Ong

Wise up man. Here we are talking about issues and giving solutions and all you do is keep on attacking our first DAP CM. What has he done to you. Did he reject any of your propose project??? I hope you are not like Zahrain the loser!!!! We the Penang people will continue to support LGE & CO.