Is the cost of the second Penang bridge way too high?
China yesterday inaugurated one of the longest sea bridges in the world – a six-lane 36km link (27km over sea) to connect Jiaxing city near Shanghai with Ningbo in the province of Zhejiang. And what is the cost? 11.8 billion yuan, which is RM5.3 billion (RM147 million per km).
In comparison, the cost of the proposed four-lane second Penang bridge, which is 24km (of which only 17km is above sea), is expected to cost at least RM4.3 billion (RM179 million per kim). It’s more than a third shorter than the bridge in China, and yet the cost is only about a fifth lower. The Edge even reported that UEM was seeking as much as RM4.8 billion for the Penang job.
So how? Something doesn’t look right. Why don’t we just expand the ferry service for a start to considerably ease congestion on the bridge while we explore a shorter rail link. Oh yeah, I forgot, that is too cheap a solution!
Still on the subject of transport, while Malaysian officials and planners can only think of multi-billion ringgit monorails and subways for our urban centres, the UK is rapidly turning to guided buses, guided trolley buses and trams as low-cost but efficient solutions to urban public transport in a string of British cities and towns. Check out this list of proposed schemes in the UK.
Again, this may be too cheap a solution for our planners’ liking… For some reason, they just love those multi-billion ringgit price tags.