GEORGE TOWN, Feb 6 — The iconic 45-year-old pedestrian bridge at Weld Quay, used to access the ferry terminal here, was safely dismantled overnight, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said today.
He said the pedestrian bridge was found to be structurally unsafe and beyond repair after a trailer rammed into it yesterday evening.
“This is a loss to us as it is a historical monument, a facility for pedestrians and we had to take immediate action to dismantle it, clear the road and open it back to traffic,” he said during a press conference with state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo.
He confirmed that the road was fully opened to traffic at around 11am and MBPP is now working to install a zebra crossing and traffic lights at the site.
“This is an immediate temporary measure we have to implement to allow pedestrians to cross the busy road to the ferry terminal,” he said.
He said the city council will look into the possibility of constructing a new pedestrian bridge but for now, it is important to put in a zebra crossing first.
He added that the city council is also compiling the full cost of the resources used to dismantle the structure, as well as the damages and the costs of constructing a new pedestrian bridge to claim from the parties responsible for the incident.
“We will claim it from those responsible for this incident,” he said.
He said MBPP, as the owner of the pedestrian bridge, has also lodged a police report over the incident so that investigations can be made against the driver of the trailer.
Jagdeep, who is local government committee chairman, said MBPP is mulling a civil suit against the company of the trailer responsible for the incident.
“Our claims will consist all losses, damages and consequential costs we may have to bear due to the incident,” he said.
As for whether MBPP will build a new pedestrian bridge, Jagdeep said the state government has an overall Penang Bay project that covered that area.
“We have a larger masterplan for the whole area so we will look into this under that project,” he said.
Yesterday, at around 4.29pm, a trailer travelling along the busy Weld Quay rammed into the pedestrian bridge causing it to tilt precariously.
The bridge, which measures at 5m in height, was the first overhead pedestrian bridge to be built in Penang back in 1975.
The bridge was reportedly about 105 feet long, nine feet wide and weighed about 20 tons.
It was constructed as part of the ferry expansion programme back then and costs about RM180,000 then.