Reconstruction work starts on Satok suspension bridge

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (front) at the groundbreaking ceremony for Satok Suspension Bridge.

KUCHING, Oct 25: The Satok Suspension Bridge, a popular spot for courting couples and the only way to reach Matang in the past, will be reconstructed in two years’ time.

The iconic bridge will be rebuilt following its original design at its original location with improved structures.

Calling it the ‘masterpiece’ for Sarawak for that time, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Satok Suspension Bridge has a lot of historical significance to the people here and to himself.

“We build it again because of its immense history. It will also be a landmark as a tourist destination and reflects our cultural cohesiveness,” he said during the ground-breaking ceremony for the rebuilding of the bridge at Kubah Ria in Medan Niaga Satok this afternoon.

Together with the ‘S Bridge’, it will become an attraction for rivercruises, he said, adding that the state government is also building other bridges such as Bako bridge, a bridge connecting Jalan Matang to Sungai Maong, and linking Rambungan to Lundu — all toll-free for the public. Other bridges that are in the planning stages include one connecting Darul Hana to Bintawa.

The construction site of the Satok suspension bridge at its original location.

The Public Works Department (JKR) has appointed Syarikat Pekerjaan Piasau Konkerit Sdn Bhd as the contractor for the Satok Suspension Bridge project under the Infrastructure Development and Transportation Ministry

The RM8.05-million bridge will span 213-metres long and 3-metres wide, incorporating a stainless steel structure which will follow the British Standard (BS).

The bridge will include the towers and anchor blocks to hold the suspension cables. The 6m high bridge deck will have staircases and ramps at both ends. For durability, all steel materials are protected from corrosion through a hot dip galvanising process.

Abang Johari said the people, especially the older generation, had fond memories of the bridge, which had existed for about 78 years.

The Satok Suspension Bridge was constructed in 1923 and completed in 1926 by architect AS Lowe to hold 0.3m water pipes connecting the reservoir in Matang with Kuching town.

Nicknamed ‘San Francisco Bridge’, it was mainly used by pedestrians and light vehicles such as bicycles, trishaws and motorcycles.

It was 130 metres long and 2.3 metres wide, and was suspended 18 metres above the Sarawak River.

During the height of the ‘Ngap Sayot’ era, then Sarawak football coach Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamed and half of his team jumped into the Sarawak River from the Satok Suspension Bridge when the team qualified for the Malaysia Cup semi-final against Kedah after beating Johor in 1988. It was reported that more than 90 die-hard supporters also took the plunge.

The bridge was closed in 1992 due to safety reasons and eventually collapsed into the river on Oct 7, 2004. — DayakDaily