Bridge near Shanghai works out cheaper per km than second Penang bridge


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.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Khoo San
5 May 2008 6.37pm

3) “The pre-stress technology enables the bridge to withstand the impact from an earthquake of 7 on the richter scale,” CHEC information manager Ma Jie on the proposed design for Penang Bridge 2. For the uninitiated, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge is built to withstand earthquakes of 7 on the richter scale too. === This statement need to be verified. If I am not wrong, this Hangzhou bay bridge is designed to withstand for more than 7 on the Richter scale. May have to review the whole documentary again. 🙂 Penang bridge is designed to withstand 7.5 on the Ritcher scale,… Read more »

Khoo San
5 May 2008 6.10pm

To 10J,

After I re-watched China bridge documentary, your hypothesis in saying lower grade steel maybe used in China is just a bias.

China bridge is designed to last for 100 years of extreme environment with high-tech coating technique is applied for steel files.

khoo San
5 May 2008 5.51pm

To 10J, Let’s use our common sense to judge how can 6-lane bridge in a hostile bay is cheaper to build than 4-lane bridge in a pacific area with no earthquake, no typhoon and no huge tidal wave. Skilled construction workers from Chinese rural areas in not cheap anymore. If anyone telling me labor cost in Ningboa and Shanghai areas are cheaper than Malaysia meaning he/she has never visited China for last three years. FYI, Bangala or Indonesian workers shall cost lesser than local people. I still remember that Ipoh to Padang besar double track railway was quoted RM 20… Read more »

5 May 2008 2.14pm

dunplaypuks you must thank tun mahatir for locking the citizens up for the next 30 years with all the high cost piratisation projects. hmm, he now says the cabinet may not be financially savvy enough and that is one of the reasons for the lopsided agreements in favour of the pirate sector. what an excuse! and he is happily retired and the citizens are all saddled with the burden. no, there’s no corruption. everything is above board. think whcih despot will not say that? look, Mugabe will also says he is absolutely clean and he has won the latest election… Read more »

5 May 2008 10.49am

Thanks for your comment khoo san. Just to clarify : 1) Most of the people who worked on the Hangzhou Bay Bridge are not Shanghai dwellers but from peripheral disticts. 2) Most of the people involved/are to be involved in any construction work in Malaysia are unlikely to be locals. So cost comparisons should be made accordingly. 3) “The pre-stress technology enables the bridge to withstand the impact from an earthquake of 7 on the richter scale,” CHEC information manager Ma Jie on the proposed design for Penang Bridge 2. For the uninitiated, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge is built to… Read more »

khoo San
4 May 2008 11.58pm

Comment by 10J | Saturday, 3 May 2008 ======================================================= I believe you ignore engineering challenges for China Bridge as I mentioned earlier. This China Bridge is more more difficult to build than Penang Bridge. I also forget to mention that there is earthquake in China which require tougher bridge design. In another word, more expensive to build earthquale proof in China than Penang Bridge. There are fallacies in your assumptions besides the extreme engineering challenges faced by China Bridge. 1. Labor cost in Shaghai area is not cheaper compared with any cities in Malaysia. 2. China is a net importer… Read more »

khoo San
4 May 2008 11.36pm

I viewed this China bridge documentary program in the Discovery Channel years ago. Indeed, this China bridge has more engineering challanges than Penang Second Bridge. For examples, 1. This area is hit by ferocious cyclon. 2. The sea current in the bay is one of strongest in the world. 3. There is a pocket of natural gas underneath the bridge which require special filing technique. As this suthor pointed out, the cost per mileage is still lowest than Penang brigde is something we have to ask our government (which is widely seen as corrupt). Anyway, inflated cost on non-tender projects… Read more »

4 May 2008 9.11pm

Dear Anil The great ‘Transport’ debate You gotta read these excerpts from the intro to Ben Elton’s (UK) 1991 ‘Gridlock’ about a group of aliens visiting Earth to make a 3-minute tv comedy item for their top-rated show ‘That’s Amazing’ : ‘But then, they were stumped. They had encountered one aspect of human activity which astonished and mystified even those hardened researches. Researchers who thought they had seen every illogicality and lunacy that the universe had to offer. All those things which we on Earth believe to be complex and difficult had been simplicity to these aliens – the situation… Read more »

4 May 2008 7.40pm

We should understand that our government doesn’t have the cow brain to think of something which is economical and effective.They are arrogance but without brain ! They said if you didn’t like it you can leave !

4 May 2008 10.31am

Problem is that there is never a Transportation Study carried out. BN Government is just trying to plug in the leakages (jams) and by introducing mega projects building highways and bridges here and there. Look at KL trains. They never integrate. To go from one system to the other, we have to walk. With oil hitting at US120/ barrel, the Minister of Transport needs to provide solution not only to KL but in Penang.

Dattaya Muthiah
Dattaya Muthiah
4 May 2008 6.45am

Why not try out “Tut-tut” motorised tricycles as seen in the main cities in India, Indonesia, Thailand and opther poor countries. That would solve lots of fuel problems, travel times and bring about job opportunities.

Malaysians had been talking about this form of transport some years ago but never tried theis system of transport.

3 May 2008 9.54pm

Well, on the cost per km disparity, a few points comes to mind : 1) Cost disparity in Shanghai vs Penang – Labour is cheaper there, and China is a producer of a lot of raw building materials like iron for steel. 2) Seabed conditions – different seabed conditions need different levels of “conditioning” before construction of the bridge structure is possible. This may significantly affect the cost of the bridge. 3) Different weather patterns may affect the shelf-life of building materials, and we know how the hot and humid weather here in Malaysia is excellent for rust to collect… Read more »

Mr Smith
Mr Smith
3 May 2008 4.40pm

Public transport has never been a priority in this country. The government was more interested in putting more cars on the roads, building bridges, highways and charging toll.
Yes, I have seen guided buses criss crossing the roads every minute of the day in Austria and all packed with passengers.
Surely Penang is no bigger than Vienna.
I have never encounted the Penang kind of traffic jams in any all the European cities I had visited. But then, this is Bolehland.

3 May 2008 12.07pm



I am curious. Have you actually spoken to and shared your views with anyone within the Pg state govt? you seem to have some interesting ideas…

(Thanks Ibrahim, but then again, lots of Penangites have lots of ideas these days… perhaps too many for the State Govt to handle! haha….Just doing my bit. – Anil)

raj raman
raj raman
3 May 2008 11.56am

jeffrey and juan taman,

How are we going to audit?This moron always says its official secret,Latest parliment one mp ask,what is the cost to maintained 4 jets bought from Rusia.


Juan Taman
Juan Taman
3 May 2008 8.52am

All Mega projects seem to be very costly in Malaysia.I just wonder whether any detail cost analysis has been done for each of the projects. All Mega projects also seem to be mooted by private developer whose interest is profit maximization which can make a killing especially in the absence of competitive bidding. For the sake of the country, the Opposition should engage a team of experts to scrutinize the cost of each of these projects and reveal it to the Rakyat. Afterall it is public fund the government is using. Don’t get carried away by glamorous projects to be… Read more »

jeffrey chew
3 May 2008 6.48am

This is really a problem. I am sure that UEM is trying to build up its war chest…

So, what is there for us to say anything? … I am shocked by the price tag put by UEM. I hope there is a proper audit done on this.

raj raman
raj raman
3 May 2008 6.36am

Very interesting anil,you do follow up with facts and ringgit. The points you gave make sense,however as long the cronies and glc company around to tender/negotiated tender,we the actual paymaster for all this project and salaries to the civil servants will goes to someone pockets. Can you also suggest how to come up with an idea to stop this vultures behind glc company.Or even the cronies. Raj Raman.Everyone now knows alot of vultures flying around,but how do we stop them?Hope your comments not be another commnents without finding a solution from the leech who suck $. I ALSO CAN DONATE… Read more »

3 May 2008 1.58am

May I seek permission to publish some of your posts (partially) and link back to your weblog?

Thank you.

(Sure, go ahead, you can link to whatever is posted in my blog – Anil)

3 May 2008 1.26am

The solution to the transportation woes in Penang, KL, Selangor & JB and elsewhere in M’sia, can be achieved by a combination of lower-tech cost efficient and economically competitive projects such as: 1. Single & Double Decker Bus 2. Trams 3. Trolley Bus 4. Upgrading of existing railway/monorail/MRT service 5. Taxi service 6. Peak hour traffic control (CBD concept) 7. More affordable toll highways. We do not need to be stuck in paradigm-shifting and what it has come to mean in M’sia – billion $ mega and/or stand-alone projects to impress the world, but burden users. We do not need… Read more »

Hasbullah Pit
3 May 2008 12.32am

It’s mean , we just need less than 6 bilion to make Melaka Dumai 6 lane Bridge.