Sunday, 18 March 2012

Penang Ferry

The Penang Ferry is mentioned in 'Merdeka'.  In 1957 it was the only way to get to the Island - whereas today it is an alternative to the Penang Bridge that opened in 1985.  The vessels in use today are different to the one that Alick used.

The Ferry first started running in 1920 and so it will soon be celebrating its 100th Anniversary.  But a new bridge will  make it less relevant.

In August 2006 the Malaysian Government unveiled plans for a second Penang Bridge..  The bridge will have a dual carriageway with two lanes and a motorcycle lane on either side. The approach spans will have a width of 29.8m and main navigation spans will be 35.6m wide.

The overall length of the bridge will be 24km, of which sections covering 17km will be built on the channel.  It will be the longest bridge in Malaysia and South East Asia when it opens for traffic in November 2013!  The new bridge is expected to reduce traffic on the first Penang bridge by 20% and will transform Penang into key logistics and transportation hub.

Rather ironically the project is being largely funded by Communist Chinese, through the Export-Import Bank of China.  This funding is in the form of a 20 year loan, and the remaining cost of the project is funded by the Malaysian Government.

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