Penang’s new second bridge – Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge

Penang's second bridge

Penang’s second bridge

Penang’s second bridge opened on Saturday night, March 1st, and to the public on Sunday.

Today, March 4th, I drove and drove and drove across it – and back.  Yes, it’s a very long bridge.  The distance over the water I measured as 16.8 KM,which took about 12 minutes, driving at the pathetically low speed limit of 80KPH – I set the cruise control.  Mind you, the speed of other drivers varied from 70 KPH to 130KPHish.  A realistic speed limit would be 100KPH  or over, as it would be easy to fall asleep at 80KPH. I didn’t notice any radar cameras.

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.

heading towards the mainland from Penang Island

heading towards the mainland from Penang Island

starting across

starting across

islamic pylon top

islamic pylon top

making progress across

making progress across

are we there yet?

are we there yet?

taking the first exit

taking the first exit

cows crossing the road - they seem to be traffic aware

cows crossing the road – they seem to be traffic aware

an approach from the mainland to the bridge

an approach from the mainland to the bridge – about to recross the bridge

tolls are not yet signposted

tolls are not yet signposted

"toll plaza"

“toll plaza”

the highest part

the highest part

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having crossed the bridge now about to take the turn for George Town

having crossed the bridge now about to take the turn for George Town

merging onto the road after the bridge

merging onto the road after the bridge

ongoing roadworks on the island

ongoing roadworks on the island

 

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