TOURISTS can now enjoy another attraction at the Penang Hill with the opening of the viewing deck at the upper station.
Located about 750m above sea level, the three-tier deck will give visitors panaromic views of George Town including Penang Bridge, Kek Lok Si Temple and Komtar.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the viewing deck was part of the RM9.05mil Phase Two upgrading project which started in February last year.
“The final part includes the construction of a lift, museum gallery and a cafe.
“These facilities will be com-pleted by the end of March,” said Lim during the opening ceremony at the Penang Hill upper station yesterday.
Later, Lim named the extended viewing bridge located next to the Viewing Deck as ‘Skywalk’.
Penang Hill design team geo- technical engineer Baddrul Taib said the viewing deck was enforced with soil nailing and grid beams.
He said the deck would be able to withstand earthquakes up to seven on the Richter scale.
“Our priority is the safety of the people.
“The grid lines which are currently bare will be covered by vegetation within a year,” said Baddrul.
Phase One of the project took place in 2013 at the cost of RM3.62mil.
It involved the retractable roof at the lower station and the elevated walkway which led to the astaka (food court).
The RM6.5mil Phase Three is expected to start this year at the right wing of the lower station.
“When completed, the whole lower station will have a new look,” said Lim.
“It will house additional facili-ties like a science tech cafe, a children’s playground, a convenience stall, an ATM machine, a money changer, a souvenir stall and food and drink outlets.
“All these facilities are planned to cater to the increasing number of tourists coming here.
“We registered 600,000 visitors in 2011 and the number came to 1.2 million in 2012.
“The following year in 2013, it was 1.23 million and it went up to 1.36 million last year.
“This year, the number of visitors to the hill is expected to hit the 1.45 million mark,” said Lim.