KUALA TERENGGANU: The people of Terengganu await yet another success story – the first combined bascule and drawbridge in the country that is expected to be ready by the end of this year.
Taking inspiration from the London Tower Bridge in England, the yet-to-be-named bridge has been under construction since 2014 over Sungai Terengganu in the heart of this coastal town of Kuala Terengganu.
The bridge, comprising the main route of the bridge, four towers, and two ‘sky bridges’, is about 70% complete, and is set to become another landmark and tourist attraction in the city.
The good news was shared by East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John in an exclusive interview with Bernama.
ECERDC is developing the entire Kuala Terengganu City Centre or KTCC project at an estimated cost of RM5 billion, which includes the construction of the bridge.
Jebasingam said the bridge would transform the landscape of the city and become the focal point of the tourism sector not only for the state but the entire East Coast region.
The strategic location of the bridge in the city centre will also shorten the travel time from the city to the Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Nerus from 30 minutes to just 10.
“From the business perspective, so far the project has attracted RM33 billion in private investment, and is expected to create 40,000 jobs.
“KTCC is one of the strategic projects for tourism as Terengganu is poised to become the tourism gateway for the East Coast. KTCC alone is expected to draw some RM5 billion in new investments in the property and real estate sector.
He said there would be a gallery at the bridge for the public to enjoy the sights of the city, and restaurants and shops would be located near the sky bridges.
“Visitors will also certainly look forward to seeing the bridge being raised and lowered, and we have plans to do this twice or thrice a day depending on the traffic situation.
“Just like the London Tower Bridge, where visitors can see the raising and lowering of the bridge. It will be an exciting phenomenon for visitors,” he said, adding that he was confident the number of tourist arrivals in Terengganu would increase once the bridge went into operation.
Jebasingam said fishermen and shipping companies would also benefit from the project, and their vessels would now be able to pass under the raised bridge.
He said there would be no environmental impact from the construction of the bridge, and that a detailed two-year study had been conducted to ensure the protection of the ecosystem at the river mouth.
“Whatever project we do, we do it in a sustainable manner. In the context of the KTCC, we’ve done the EIA (environmental impact assessment), and all the mitigation measures are in place.
“We work with the DID (Department of Irrigation and Drainage) for the hydraulic aspects of the project,” he said. — Bernama