THE newly opened RM800mil Sungai Pulai bridge, which connects Gelang Patah and Tanjung Bin, will make it easier for those travelling to Pontian and Johor Baru.
The new facility is a public-private partnership project between Johor government and Seaport Worldwide Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MMC Group.
The project includes the construction of a bridge over Sungai Pulai and a road connecting Gelang Patah in Johor Baru and Tanjung Bin in Pontian.
The 7.5km-long two-lane dual-carriageway bridge is equipped with a 25m-high and 100m-wide navigation clearance for sea vessels.
It will reduce travel time to just 30 minutes from the current land route, which normally takes around an hour.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who officiated the bridge opening, said his predecessor Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad, who was a state executive councillor at the time, had worked tirelessly on the project.
“The opening of the Sungai Pulai bridge will make Pontian a new socio-economic hub in Johor as it will bring greater employment opportunities, spur economic activities, increase the value of real estate as well as encourage the development of local areas and tourism in Tanjung Piai,” Onn Hafiz said in his speech.
He said initiatives and projects like this were able to strengthen and boost tourism in Tanjung Piai, which is a Ramsar site.
He noted Tanjung Piai, which is the southernmost point of mainland Asia, has the Tanjung Piai National Park and Pulau Kukup National Park.
“Pulau Kukup is the second largest mangrove island in the world,” said Onn Hafiz, who is also the Machap assemblyman.
“The opening of this bridge will boost economic activity at Kukup jetty, which is currently one of the main routes to Tanjung Balai in Indonesia,” he added.
Seaport Worldwide chairman Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, who is also MMC Corporation Bhd group managing director, said construction of the bridge began in November 2017.
He said the Sungai Pulai bridge would help facilitate movement between the districts of Johor Baru and Pontian.