KUCHING, Nov 12: Kuching City’s latest landmark, the “S” bridge spanning the Sarawak River at the Kuching Waterfront, was declared open by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, last night.
Officially named the Darul Hana bridge, the curvilinear steel cable stay pedestrian bridge has a span of 355m and was built at the cost of RM35 million.
Before it was officially named, the bridge was popularly known as the “S” bridge because its shape resembles the letter “S”.
It was built on three sets of in-river bored pile foundations – two for the hybrid concrete and steel towers and one for the southern approach’s span strut.
The two hornbill shaped towers echoed the traditional bridges built by the Bidayuhs while the “S” shape reflected the state’s “curving” rivers, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg, said.
Construction started in 2013 with PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, the engineering arm of the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), appointed as the main contractor.
Taib mooted the idea of the bridge to connect the “culturally lively” traditional Malay villages on the north bank of the Sarawak River with the commercial south bank when he was still the chief minister.
For good feng shui, Taib opened the bridge at exactly 11 seconds past the 11th minute past 11pm on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Despite that, a minor incident happened.
Taib, Abang Johari, their wives and other VIPs were showered by misdirected fireworks while watching the display as part of the opening ceremony.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
Abang Johari was even seen raising his left leg to avoid a sparkler that went past him and landed under his chair.
Earlier in his address, the chief minister said the architecture of the bridge had been “executed with beauty, harmony and balance”.
He said the individual components of the bridge, such as the piers and the cables, all connect seamlessly and “each cannot stand without the other” to reflect a harmonious society even though Sarawak is racially and culturally diversified.
“This is indeed very much a reflection of Kuching as a City of Unity”.
The chief minister said the bridge brings “a new exciting era for Kuching”.
He said the bridge’s futuristic design and engineering innovation “symbolised the dynamism of modern Sarawak”.
“The bridge with its sweeping curves was built to enhance North and South Kuching’s connectivity at the heart of the city’s heritage core for the benefit of both the tourists and the people of Kuching.”
He also said the bridge will become an integral part of the Halaman Heritage Trail which allowed easy access to the city’s historic sites, establishing it as a “dramatic new icon”.
The trail starts from the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building, passing through the botanic and orchid gardens to the iconic Fort Margherita and the new DUN building.
The trail continues across the new bridge to the “vibrant” waterfront and the Padungan area, the old courthouse, the Main Bazaar and the new Sarawak museum campus which is still under construction. — DayakDaily