What are they doing on the Penang Bridge centre-span?


High above the Penang Bridge

For the longest time now, there has been major ongoing work on the three-lane centre-span of the Penang Bridge. The work seems never-ending. Many motorists are puzzled about the long-term closure of the far left lanes on the centre span.

Only two of the three lanes on the centre-span are in use, aggravating the congestion on the slope uphill towards the middle of the bridge. A second (middle-lane) of the bridge is usually closed late at night to avoid worsening peak hour congestion but that creates traffic snarls even at 1.00am.

What is really going on?

When the Penang Bridge was first built, it was designed to last about 120 years. The expert designers assumed the bridge would have to cater for the maximum weight-load possible – that is, they assumed a traffic weight-load equivalent to three lanes each way of stationary heavy vehicles on the centre span.

This is what the underside of the bridge looks like

These designers never expected major work to be undertaken barely 20 years after the bridge was first open to traffic. The work now involves replacing nearly all the steel cables on the centre span.

Changing the cables: A delicate task

It is being undertaken by a French company, Freyssinet, using their latest generation 37-strand, 85m-long HD2000 models – 117 cables to be exact – under a joint venture UEMC-Freyssinet Consortium.

It is a massive, highly delicate undertaking to change the cables while the bridge is still being used. It will be a huge challenge to maintain the original structural integrity of the bridge.

But there are rumblings within engineering circles in Penang. Not all engineers are convinced that most of the cables need to be changed. After all, they have learnt that the original cables appear in good condition. They also know that the bridge was built to last 120 years. So why change the cables? They are also wondering why some of the key people involved in the original bridge design were apparently not consulted before the replacement of cables was undertaken.

UEM needs to tell the public exactly what went wrong with the original structure – if at all – and if/why the original designers were apparently not asked to investigate and hand in a report. Do the cables need to be changed? And why?

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Another project by BN CRONIES INC.


Hi Anil, Why don’t you ask Lim Guan Eng the reason why UEM need or insist of changing those cables for centre-span…
I believe, the State Government must have called them to come in and explain why…
If not get the CM to call them and do a press conference on it…WHY?? WHY?


So simple. Got project = got $$. No project = no $$

Do you think the government care about the inconvinience to the public or their illogical reason for the need to change the cabel?

The UMNO building is another good example. Komtar is under utilise but with no project around, why don’t build another tall building around?

Nice inside picture btw. Haven’t seen the underside of the bridge b4

Cheng Poh Heng

The Main Contractor was Korean, if I am not mistaken, but the Sub-Contractors were crony Bumiputra companies … Between the Main Con and Sub-Con, Malaysians were truly (taken for a ride) … again and again….
Cheng Poh Heng

Sqaure One

As usual…a bridge built to last 120 years, if used inferior materials will last less than time expected. RM 750m{?} to build the 1st bridge …dunno how much ringgit masuk into someones pocket , maybe they used rafia strings for the midspan cables that is due for changes??


Preparing the world highest circus for … clowns to perform … big money involved.

Mr Smith

Will any kind soul sum up the total cost we have incurred on abandoned and failed projects, repair bills, collapsed bridges, leaking roofs, and smelly operation theaters. Oh yes, and the space passenger’s ticket.

raj raman666

Keep on shouting,soon or later somebody will notice.(like me)

Keep on asking, the truth will never come from the benefiter.
Keep on suporting GLC company- the benefits for the chosen fews in political party.

keeep this companies-MRCB,UEM,RENONG…………..are u joking,120 years warranty? Only the morons will say 120years…


(NEED TO KNOW HOW U MANAGE TO GET THE PICTURE-some one inside as your informer?)


UEM is obligated to inform the public that repair works are ongoing in Penang Bridge and its duration. This allows car owners whether to use the bridge as they maybe caught in the jam due to closing down of the lane or even slowing down of vehicles. If not what is the point of taking the bridge and paying the toll if they are delayed by the ongoing repair works.


The Keposayang bridge in KL started cracking up even as the Minister was making a speech at its launch about 2-3 years ago that ‘it would last a hundred years’. The extra cost of rectification was somewhere in the region of $50 million, which the Hon. Minister said will be recovered from the contractor, a local Plc, but we have heard nothing of it since his departure from Cabinet. So, I’m surprised anyone could be taken in by claims of 120 years durability for the Penang Bridge…. The current works could well keep UEM ticking along while the contracts for… Read more »