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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Aug 20: The long-awaited Satok Suspension Bridge, which was completed on Mar 26 is finally open to the public.
Infrastructure and Port Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the bridge was reconstructed not only as a tourist attraction but also due to its historical as well as sentimental value.
“The new bridge is situated on the exact site of the old bridge. It was an iconic bridge for the old Kuching town. It is part of the collective memories of the people of Kuching and as such it shall not be forgotten,” said Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister.
The old bridge, which collapsed on Oct 7, 2004 after a storm, physically linked the Malay residents in Petrajaya to Kuching old town. Since it was completed, it had allowed them to crossover to shop for groceries, to sell their products, to catch a movie or to just hang out in the old Kuching bazaar.
Overlaying the Sarawak River, due to the views it offered, it was also a place where courting couples chose to meet during under sunsets or starry nights. To many elderly Kuchingites, it was a place of fond memories that encompassed their childhood, adolescence and married lives.
As an iconic structure for Kuchingites, the old bridge also witnessed the glorious moments of the once formidable Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) when legendary former FAS ‘Nyap Sayot’ coach Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad led half of his team and about 100 supporters to jump off the bridge into the river below in an act of celebration to commemorate Sarawak’s qualification for the Malaysia Cup semi-finals after beating Johore.
The story made headlines amid frenzied and dramatic moments, and the event has since been imprinted into the minds of many Kuchingites.
In an exclusive interview with Awang Mahyan in 2012, the eccentric coach pinned his hope of FAS’ revival on the rebuilding of the bridge, that following the reconstruction of the bridge, FAS may also likewise resume its former glory.
The old Satok hanging bridge which was also nicknamed the ‘Yellow 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.
It was 130 metres long, 2.3 metres wide and was suspended 18 metres above the river.
The bridge eventually gave in to wear and tear and was closed in 1992 due to safety reasons. It eventually collapsed in 2004, after serving the residents of Kuching for 78 years.
The reconstructed Satok Bridge, which will span 213 metres by 3 metres is being rebuilt at the cost of RM8.05 million. — DayakDaily