Monday, May 19, 2008
The Penang Bridge (Jambatan Pulau Pinang in Malay) is a dual-carriageway toll bridge that connects Gelugor on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. The bridge is also linked to the North-South Expressway in Prai and Jelutong Expressway in Penang. It was officially opened to traffic on September 14, 1985. The total length of the bridge is 13.5 km (8.4 miles), making it among the longest bridges in the world, the longest bridge in the country as well as a national landmark. PLUS Expressway Berhad is the concession holder which manages it.
Before 1985, transportation between the island and the mainland was solely dependent on the state-owned Penang Ferry Service that runs between Butterworth and George Town.
Similar to the ferry services in Penang, toll is only paid when heading to the island. There is no charge for leaving the island.
Currently, the Penang Bridge is being expanded from 4 lanes to 6 lanes to accommodate the increasing traffic on the bridge. A proposal for a second bridge, the Penang Second Bridge, has been approved by the Malaysian federal government and included as one of the Ninth Malaysia Plan national projects. Construction work of the new Penang Second Bridge began in November 2007, and the target completion date is before the end of 2010.