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Southeast Asia's Longest Bridge Opens to Much Fanfare

The opening of Jambatan Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah—more commonly known as the Second Penang Bridge—took place on 1 March 2014 to great ceremony. The event celebrated the inauguration of the longest bridge in Southeast Asia, and one of the largest civil engineering project the region has seen in the last two decades. Opened by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the occasion attracted more than 10,000 people. Visitors were treated to a fireworks display over Penang Island to symbolise the unveiling of the country’s latest iconic structure. Those present at the event included Works Minister, Datuk Fadillah Yusof, and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.

Spanning 24 kilometres, of which 17 kilometres were built over the sea and 7 kilometres over land, the bridge is the second bridge that links Penang Island with Peninsular Malaysia. Constructed in a bid to reduce traffic congestion on the first bridge, the structure is expected to improve connectivity and along with it, the economy of the area. It is designed to withstand the severe forces of nature, including earthquake tremors of up to 8.2 on the Richter scale, potential tsunamis, wind, and a hostile marine environment. Traffic environment is also safer and more conducive on the bridge, as separate lanes were created for motorcyclists.

Beyond its massive scale, the cable-stayed structure also pioneered several innovative and environmentally-friendly bridge technologies during its construction, including intelligent bridge geometry control, lightweight form traveller system for cable-stayed bridge erection, and the use of the statnamic pile loading test method. To minimise the risk of seismic activity, 2-metre diameter bored piles were employed for the more than 120 metres deep foundation. Similarly, a seismic isolation structural design was incorporated through the use of high-damping rubber bearings, which are an alternative to conventional pit bearing and also more environmentally friendly. The project also saw the extensive use of precast hollow concrete spun piles, which are considered less environmentally intensive than cast-in-place systems, as well as the substantial use of driven tubular steel piles.

The design and construction of the bridge was led by AECOM Technology Corporation in collaboration with China Highway Planning and Design Institute (HPDI). The team, in partnership with the project’s contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), provided specialist consultancy services in the areas of aerodynamics, navigation risk assessment and ship impact studies, seismic analyses, wind and structural health monitoring, fire hazard assessment, and resolution of construction challenges in the marine piling operation. Since the commencement of construction works on the Second Penang Bridge in 2008, AECOM has conducted feasibility studies and site supervisions, and supplied detailed design as well as pre-tendering and post-tendering services. 








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