New crossing over Sarawak river

Abang Johari (centre) and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek holding up a bunch of Sarawak red bananas.

KUCHING: The historic Satok suspension bridge, which collapsed in 2004, is finally going to be rebuilt.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state Public Works Department has been tasked to build a new suspension bridge over Sungai Sarawak and connect the city with the famed Satok Market across the river.

“This bridge has a lot of history. It was the main crossing point for the people to travel between Kuching and Petrajaya.

“I have requested for the Public Works agency to commence construction of this bridge, hopefully by this year.

“When completed, it would raise the appeal of Medan Niaga Satok as a tourist attraction. Tourists could experience the suspension bridge as they walk to the market from the city,” he said at the fourth anniversary celebration of Medan Niaga Satok here on Saturday.

The Satok assemblyman said the RM46mil market complex has become a tourist attraction because of the variety of local products available.

Equipped with over 1,000 trading lots including a food plaza, Medan Niaga Satok was always buzzing with activities in particular its weekend market.

The market was also popular with visitors because of its location at the Sarawak River.

Abang Johari said the new suspension bridge could also serve as a fishing spot.

At nights, many people would fish at the six-lane Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Bridge and the chief minister raised his concern on road safety.

Abang Johari, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, first announced the rebuilding of the Satok suspension bridge in 2012.

He said the design of the replacement bridge has been approved and location identified.

The Satok suspension bridge, completed in 1926 at a cost of US$52,000, had collapsed at 4am on Oct 7, 2004 following a thunderstorm the previous evening.

Nicknamed the “San Fransisco Bridge”, the infrastructure was designed by architect AS Lowe to hold water pipes connecting the reservoir in Matang to Kuching.

The bridge was 130m long and 2.3m wide, suspended 18m above the Sarawak River.

The bridge was built mainly for pedestrians as it only allowed vehicles weighing up to 1,360kg.

Abang Johari also announced that the state government would cover the maintenance and service fees at Medan Niaga Satok beginning this year.

Previously, some 1,000 traders at the Satok Market would be charged with a service fee for the local council, Kuching North City Commission, to carry out daily cleaning and maintenance work.

The fees would cost the state government about RM240,000 per year.

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