GEORGE TOWN: The second day of the partial closure of the emergency lane along the mainland-bound stretch of the Penang Bridge saw traffic moving at a slow pace during the morning peak hours.
A check by The Star showed a 30-minute jam along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway section heading towards the bridge.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic was seen on the bridge until the end of the partially closed emergency lane along the stretch.
Traffic eased in the evening with the lane on the island-bound side converted into a contraflow lane for mainland-bound traffic between 4pm and 8pm.
There was a minor jam at the mainland toll plaza going to the island until the middle span of the bridge at the contraflow lane as recorded on Tuesday as well.
A check at the second bridge, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge, at 6.40pm saw traffic to be slightly busier than usual but no jam was recorded during the evening peak hours.
It was reported that one lane on each side of Penang Bridge would be closed for six months.
During the closures, a corresponding stretch of a lane on the opposite direction will be turned into contraflow lane for four hours every day during peak hours.
The year-long closures are for bridge maintenance needed every four years.
The shut-off stretches extend between 1.4km and 1.7km.
From Tuesday to Feb 21 next year, the outermost lane (emergency lane) on the mainland-bound side will be closed between KM6.8 and KM5.4.
From 4pm to 8pm daily, a lane on the other side along the same stretch will be converted into a contraflow lane for mainland-bound traffic.
From Feb 22 to Aug 21 next year, it will be the island-bound side’s turn, with the outermost lane closed between KM4.1 and KM5.8.
From 6am to 10am daily, one lane on the mainland-bound direction along the stretch will be used for contraflow, for the island-bound rush-hour traffic.
Commenting on the maintenance work, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the proposed 6.5km undersea tunnel would serve as an alternative in the event that there was a “problem” with the Penang Bridge.
“This is where we know how nice it would be if there was an undersea tunnel to connect Gurney Drive to Bagan Ajam,” he told reporters during the handing over ceremony of student enrolment assistance to institutions of higher education for 2017 at Tapak Pesta in Sungai Nibong yesterday.
“So if the first bridge has problems, we at least have other options.
“Traffic is not only congested on the bridge but has also spilled over to areas on the island.”
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