Thumbs up for spiral bridge

Riders of G Club Penang Cyclists posing for the camera before trying out the bridge. — Photo courtesy of the club.

SWITCH to low gear as you begin your circular ascent. Do not stop along the spiralling track until you reach the top.

This is the advice from sports cyclist and bike commuter Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan on navigating the spiral bicycle and pedestrian bridge at the Bayan Lepas Expressway near Queensbay Mall.

Dr Lim was among 10 cyclists invited to test and review the bridge recently and found the 250m climb a breeze and easy to handle even for novice cyclists.

“The ramp gradient is just a five-degree slope.

“For comparison, the Bukit Gambier road has a gradient of 10 to 15 degrees and the Penang Hill jeep trail has a steepness of up to 30 degrees.”

But Dr Lim advised beginner cyclists to make use of their bike gears if they have them and not to stop midway and lose all momentum.

“We gave our feedback to Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

“The council agreed to install higher railings to make things safer for mountain bike cyclists.

Aerial view of the almost completed spiral ramp for cyclists near Queensbay Mall in Bayan Baru, Penang.
Aerial view of the almost completed spiral ramp for cyclists near Queensbay Mall in Bayan Baru, Penang.

“This spiral bridge will definitely become one of Penang’s iconic structures and it is quite innovative of them to create a viewing deck at the top,” said Dr Lim, who is also chairman of G Club Penang Cyclists.

The bridge was created to let cyclists cross the Bayan Lepas Expressway and reach Lebuhraya Sungai Nibong and the Bayan Baru roundabout at Krystal Point.

The project, when completed in early May, will be the first of its kind here in Malaysia.

After cycling up the 11m-high spiralling tower, cyclists will ride across an overhead bridge and land on the bicycle track alongside the Intel factory.

A sheltered pavilion atop the tower will let cyclists take a breather after the climb.

They can rest and admire the view of Penang Bridge on the left, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge on the right and Pulau Jerejak just 800m across the sea.

The project, which cost RM8.9mil, includes two other bicycle crossings across Sungai Nibong Kecil and Sungai Ara.

The spiral design was chosen based on the location’s space restrictions and height clearance requirements, explained MBPP engineer Yong Woo Soon recently.

“The five-degree gradient slope is also the international standard accepted for cycling paths.

“If the gradient was set lower, then a third spiral loop would have to be added, which would be costlier,” he said.

On plans to stop motorcyclists from using the bicycle bridge, Yong said concrete blocks with gaps in between just wide enough for bicycles to pass would be placed at the beginning of the ramp.

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