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Octopus Footbridge, Penang Road, George Town, Penang

The KOMTAR Octopus Pedestrian Bridge at Penang Road, George Town.

The KOMTAR Octopus Pedestrian Bridge at Penang Road in the heart of George Town is a four-way pedestrian bridge. The bridge, which resembles an octopus or a spider when seen from the air, has four arms that allow pedestrians to cross the intersecting Penang Road, Prangin Road and Burmah Road.

The northern and southern arms link Penang Road, while the western arm begins at Burmah Road and the eastern arm at Prangin Road.

As of April 2016, the bridge has been partially closed due to ongoing renovations, which include the installation of escalators at each of the four arms. Slated to be completed in 2017, this renovation project by Ensignia Construction Sdn. Bhd. is expected to cost RM6 million, to be funded by the company.

Octopus Footbridge, Penang Road, George Town, Penang (2)

The KOMTAR Octopus Pedestrian Bridge as seen from the north along Penang Road.

History

*All prices are quoted in Malaysian Ringgit (RM).

The bridge was constructed in 1993 by the then Penang Island Municipal Council at a cost of RM1.25 million.

Since then, the bridge has received mixed responses. In addition, there had been security issues on the bridge; it became a favourite haunt for snatch thieves, vagabonds and beggars

Komtar Octopus Footbridge, George Town, Penang

A bird's eye view of the KOMTAR Octopus Pedestrian Bridge. It stretches over the intersection between Penang Road, Burmah Road (left) and Prangin Road (right).

In 2010, a feng shui (ancient Chinese geomancy) master claimed that the bridge was inauspicious. In light of this, the then Komtar state assemblyman, Ng Wei Aik (now the Tanjung Member of Parliament), proposed to allow street performances and stalls on the bridge to revitalise it. The Penang Island Municipal Council also called for tenders for the setting up of kiosks on the bridge, but nothing materialised.

Following negative comments received from the public, the Penang state government conducted a month-long public survey on whether to demolish the bridge. However, 70% of the respondents wanted the bridge to be retained.

In 2016, Ensignia Construction Sdn. Bhd. began renovation works on the bridge, including the installation of escalators at each of its four arms and the replacement of the walls with glass panels for safety purposes. Approved by the Penang Island Municipal Council in 2014, the project will cost RM6 million, to be funded entirely by the company. It is expected to be completed by 2017. In the meantime, the bridge has been partially closed in stages, necessitating the installation of traffic lights to allow pedestrian access across the intersection.

References

  1. http://www.thestar.com.my/story/?file=%2F2013%2F5%2F17%2Fnorth%2F13122117&sec=north
  2. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/11/01/new-look-for-spider-bridge/
  3. http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1322123
  4. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/komtar-pedestrian-crossing.htm

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