The trial opening of Brunei’s first cable-stayed bridge saw hundreds of motorists eager to cross its 750-metre span across the Brunei River.
The $139 million Sg Kebun Bridge, which will officially open on October 14 as part of His Majesty’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, is expected to ease traffic congestion for commuters between Mukim Lumapas and the capital.
It is a welcome development for residents living in Mukim Lumapas and its surrounding areas.
“It (the new bridge) is awesome. The need for the bridge has been raised in several Legislative coucil sessions by our penghulu,”said Dina, a Kg Kasat resident.
Dina was joined by hundreds of other residents who also took to the streets to test the new bridge.
“This bridge will make it convenient for us to go to areas such as to Sg Akar, before that we had to go the long way around,” she said.
The private sector employee noted that the long commute had been a problem for many of the residents in her area.
“We have lived in Kg Kasat since 1994 and the need for a bridge to link the two areas is something we’ve been looking forward to.”
In a statement release on October 1, the Public Works Department said the bridge would be opened on a trial basis to enable the renovation of the road network around the capital.
The renovation involves installing several traffic light intersections in the Bandar area to ensure smooth movement of traffic, as volume is expected to increase from Mukim Lumapas, Mukim Sungai Kebun, and its surrounding areas.
A Kg Setia resident from Kampong Ayer, Azam Hj Omar, was among the many motorists seen parking their cars by the side of the bridge to take pictures and marvel at its architecture and engineering.
“This bridge has changed the Bandar Seri Begawan skyline, it’s a new landmark that’s why my wife and I decided to drive by it tonight,” he said.
He added that his wife has family in Kg Lumapas, so it will be faster to visit them now that the bridge is open.
Cyclists also took the opportunity to enjoy the night view on the bridge’s designated pedestrian lane.
An 18-year-old cyclist, Muhd Khairulizam, told The Scoop that he never imagined being able to cycle from his house in Kg Lupak Luas to the capital in under 20 minutes.
“Before this bridge… my friends and I wouldn’t attempt cycling to Bandar. It’s just too far. So we’re finally trying it out tonight. It took us about 11 minutes,” he said.
According to previous reports, more than 18,000 motorists commute daily from Mukim Lumapas and surrounding areas using the Jalan Bengkurong Masin and Jalan Tutong roads to reach the capital.
The trial opening of the Sg Kebun Bridge will run until October 12. It will officially open on October 14, in an event marked by a fireworks display and procession of decorated floats along the Brunei River.
The float procession will begin at Kg Sg Tamoi passing the Dermaga Diraja (Royal Wharf), Arts and Handicraft Centre, and will travel onwards passing under the bridge.
The bridge, began construction in 2014, is set to be the world’s second longest one-pylon concrete cable-stayed bridge, built in a joint venture between Swee Sdn Bhd and South Korea’s Daelim Industrial.
Built under the 10th National Development Plan (10th RKN), the bridge features two dual carriageways and two interchanges, as well as a 157-metre tower which is topped with a 8.7-metre diametre dome.