Penang’s second bridge opened on Saturday night, March 1st, and to the public on Sunday.
Traffic was very, very light at around midday. According to today’s New Straits Times, 10% of Penang Bridge’s traffic has switched to the new bridge. The original bridge handled on average 100,000 vehicles daily. The newspaper notes the bridge is 24KM long, with 17 KM of that being over the water. It cost RM4.5 Billion, and links Batu Kawan on the mainland with Batu Muang on the island. That is, it’s relatively near the airport in the south of the island.
The signposting for the bridge is adequate, as are the access roads to the bridge on the mainland. However, they are still working on the access roads on the island side and no doubt have jams during rush hour. It was jammed for us around lunch time after we came off the bridge onto Penang Island and were heading north towards George Town.
The bridge also has its own dedicated motorbike lane, but no bicycle or pedestrian lane. I did notice one motorbike that had stopped on the bridge in the motorbike lane, so the rider & passenger could look at the view. I didn’t notice any bays for pulling your car over in case of breakdown, but there is a shoulder. However, apparently cars are pulling over to see the view – and they want to fine you RM150 for doing so. Why did they not make some viewing bays in a safe place?
As with the first bridge there is no toll from the island to the mainland. There is a toll the other way, but perhaps it has not yet been determined – the toll price sign has no charges posted yet. The newspaper article I read on the subject a couple of weeks ago suggested the charge would be around RM8, and certainly less than RM10. But they were charging cars RM1 when we crossed. It is supposed to be free for the first month.
Today was very hazy due the the dry conditions for the last couple of months,which means the air hasn’t been cleaned up. So here are some photos, which are not as clear as they could be.