Second Penang Bridge © Arup; Second Penang Bridge © Arup;

Second Penang Bridge, Penang

The longest bridge in Southeast Asia

Penang’s vibrant manufacturing sector, tourism and need to integrate the island with the mainland gave rise to the necessity for a Second Penang Bridge. Totalling 24 km in length, the longest in Southeast Asia, the second link is a dual carriageway toll bridge connecting Batu Kawan on the mainland to Batu Maung on the island in just 20 minutes.

Our team, a collaboration between Arup Malaysia, Hong Kong and UK, was appointed in the role of independent checking engineer (ICE) for detailed design and construction. 

Project Summary

24km total length

16kmsea crossing

240mmain span cable-stayed structure

Cable-stayed main bridge cantilevering out

The Second Penang Bridge main span is a 240m long cable-stayed structure with concrete edge girders and deck slab. The first segment and pairs of stay cables at the towers were cast in-situ on falsework. Starting from the second segment and stay cables, the edge girders and deck slabs were cast by cantilevering using a travelling formwork system. A 16km long marine viaduct was built in shallow water typically with 55m span precast concrete segmental box girders. They were erected by launching girders span by span.

Leveraging Arup’s global expertise

Commissioned by our client, Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance, we were appointed as independent checking engineers (ICE) for the marine bridge structures. We were also the ground treatment, overland bridge and road pavement engineers for the land approach expressways on the mainland. Additionally, we led supervision of all land works including all the interchanges. Arup Hong Kong carried out design checking involving various disciplines including bridge, geotechnics, maritime and seismic engineering. Support on wind and materials consulting was provided to the core checking team by Arup UK.

Our critical findings and cost-effective recommendations are crucial in ensuring the sturdiness of the longest bridge in South East Asia. ”

Wan Anuar Wan Wan Anuar Wan Endut Kuala Lumpur Office Leader
The marine approach viaduct substructure and foundation © Arup Malaysia The marine approach viaduct substructure and foundation © Arup Malaysia

Engineering solution using local material

One critical finding in our design checking works was that the marine approach viaduct foundations might have difficulty meeting seismic requirements. Yet, revising the pile type and arrangement would significantly increase construction time and cost. In view of this, we adopted a time and cost-effective solution – the use of seismic isolation by high damping rubber bearings (HDRB) that reduce the load on the piles and protect the foundations. 

The solution successfully eliminated costly remedial works without compromising safety and quality. This approach also helped to promote the country’s rubber manufacturing industry as the HDRBs were made in Malaysia. 

We also added value by recommending enhancements to the substructure strengthening to reduce risks from ship impact as well as the installation of a structural health monitoring system for the bridge.