Cross-sea bridge promotes Malaysia's development

By Zhang Fang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 9, 2014
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Malaysia's Second Penang Bridge, co-built by Chinese and Malaysian firms, has largely eased the heavy traffic and promoted the development of Penang, the country's third largest city.

The Second Penang Bridge. [File photo]

The Second Penang Bridge. [File photo]

The 24-kilometer bridge, of which 17 kilometers span across the sea, was built with environmentally friendly features linking Penang Island to Penang Mainland and officially opened to the public on March1.

Cornelius, a local resident,told Malaysia's Star newspaper that he saves at least 15 minutes of travelling time each way with the Second Bridge.

Before the new bridge was built, it usually took him up to an hour to get to the office even when he drove his motorcycle, Cornelius said.

To Lim Guan Eng, the chief minister of the state of Penang, the bridge allowed him to fulfill a bigger dream of further developing the area.

The Second Penang Bridge has largely improved local traffic, Lim said. At the same time, Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced in January that it will open Malaysia's second Ikea store in Seberang Perai, Penang.

"Obviously, the new bridge was one of the important reasons for Ikea's location. I believe there will be more of an incentive for international famous brands to come here," Lim said. "In the future, Penang hopes to become the logistics center and talent center of the world, and this bridge will play a crucial role."

The bridge, which remained under construction for six years since 2008, was built by China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd. (CHEC) and Malaysia's UEM Builders.

CHEC is China's largest international contractor and the second largest dredging company in the world, with projects based mostly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The company was responsible for planning and building the most technically difficult parts for the bridge, including the bridge body and the underwater foundation works.

Ding Yebo, who is Malaysian-Chinese, was the production manager of CHEC for the Second Bridge project. He said Malaysia actually has highly experienced construction companies, and that the country has built great contractures such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

"But they trusted our rich experiences and advanced equipment as an international contractor,"Ding said.

Fang Ruzhen,manager of the Second Penang Bridge Project, said he is proud of the work they did for the project.

"The second bridge gave us strict requirements regarding the quality and technology -- for example, the bridge needs to last 120 years. I am glad to say that we did it," he said.

"At the same time, we also successfully taught a large number of local technology and management personnel."

The company hired several local builders to help increase the local employment rate and paid much attention to protect the marine environment.

The bridge is expected to reduce the current traffic on the first 13.5-kilometer Penang Bridge by 25 percent, which was built in 1985.

The project was under the cooperative framework between China and Malaysia, and it is the largest civil structure in Malaysia to be built in the past 20 years.

The total investment of the project was around US$1.5 billion, and the Chinese government offered preferential loans around US$330 million, said the CHEC.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Malaysia's diplomatic relations with China. Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia, said during the opening ceremony of the new bridge in March that the bridge was significant for the cooperation efforts between the two countries.

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