Although not necessarily considered one of the tourist attractions in Malaysia, Penang Bridge is a very important part of the country. It is one of the three main methods that travelers get between Penang and the rest of Malaysia, with the other two methods being the ferry and the airport. The bridge was completed in August of 1985 and since then, it has been an important part of the area, linking things to do in Penang to those in the rest of the country.
The Penang Bridge spans a distance of around 13.5 kilometres, or 8.4 miles. In cases where there is no traffic, this means that you can cross it in between 10 and 15 minutes. However, Penang is frequently filled with traffic, and this includes the bridge, meaning that you should expect a trip across Penang Bridge to reach places to visit in Malaysia to take a bit longer than this amount of time. Estimates say that over 70,000 people drive across the Penang Bridge each day and some days the number passes 100,000.
Every year, the Penang Bridge hosts the Penang Bridge International Marathon, which is billed as the longest bridge marathon in the world. It attracts people from around the world and is one of the popular things to do in Malaysia for those who enjoy running. The marathon typically takes place in November and includes a 10k run, a half marathon, and a full marathon. Entry in the full marathon costs around RM100 with the other runs costing less.
Starting in the 1950s, there was talk of constructing a bridge in Penang to help ease traffic for the ferry. The bridge was one of several suggestions, including additional ferries and a tunnel. Despite early talk, the bridge construction was not announced until July 23, 1981 by S. Samy Velu, the Work Minister. He announced the bridge as well as the designation of the cable-stayed concrete girder system used by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Construction of the bridge officially started in April 1982 when the first cement pile was dropped and it ended in August 1985. The bridge officially opened to the public September 15, 1985.
Due to the success of the Penang Bridge in reducing traffic jams for those entering Penang, a second one was built and officially opened in March 2014. It is known as the Second Penang Bridge or Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge. This second bridge is actually the second longest in all of Southeast Asia, making it one of the interesting places in Malaysia as well as a useful one. The toll for the Second Penang Bridge is RM7 to RM10 depending on the vehicle.
The Penang Bridge is set up to link Georgetown, Penang and Seberang Prai, which is on the Mainland. Cars must pay RM7 while motorcycles pay RM1.50. The bridge is always open, providing easy access between Penang and the mainland.
While crossing the Penang Bridge, be sure to obey any signs and regulations as these are designed to keep you and others safe. As with any other landmark in Penang or the rest of Malaysia, it is important to respect the bridge and ensure your actions do not damage it. The bridge represents a large investment, both financially and in terms of time, and is necessary to keep Penang running smoothly.