Construction on the second Penang bridge is now 99% completed and the launching date will be determined by the Federal Government sometime next month.
Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) managing director Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib said they hoped to wrap things up by Nov 8.
“Motorists will get to enjoy complimentary access of the bridge for one month after its launching,” he told reporters during a load test at the bridge’s main navigational span yesterday.
The load test was carried out at the 475m cable stayed bridge, to ascertain the load capacity of the bridge.
“It is important to ensure that the cable stayed bridge is built according to the design and specifications,” said Dr Ismail.
A total of 17 trailer trucks ferrying concrete boulders weighing 595 tonnes were placed along the 240m stretch at the main span of the cable stayed bridge.
According to FT Laboratories Ltd technical manager Victor Lai, the deflection reading for the centre of the main navigational span was 21mm, well within the theoretical deflection reading calculated earlier which was 31mm.
“We requested the load test for the cable stayed bridge to be between 400 and 595 tonnes and the contractors to use 20 units of 30-tonne haulers.
“It is part of JKSB’s requirement to test if the bridge is able to withstand such a load in accordance to the International Design Standard,” he said.
The series of load test was the first to be conducted in the country for a newly completed bridge.
It was carried out by CHEC Construction (M) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which was also the appointed contractor for Package 1 of the bridge construction project.
Dr Ismail added that the toll rate had yet to be determined.
When asked about the rigidity of the second Penang bridge, he said even an earthquake would not affect it.
“The bridge was specially designed to withstand quakes measuring 7.5 and above on the Richter scale.”
Dr Ismail also said the project’s cost, which was earlier stipulated at RM4.5bil, was RM50mil lower and the excess funds had been used for landscaping and decorative lights at the main navigational span.
He said the colour and tempo of the lights would change according to the country’s major festivities or celebrations, similar to those at the Incheon Bridge in South Korea.
The second Penang bridge spanning 24km, with 16.9km over the sea, will link Batu Kawan on the mainland with Batu Maung on the island.
Upon completion, the bridge is expected to spur the socio-economic growth and development, especially in the Northern Corridor Economic Region. - By Royce Tan (The Star)