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Sunday, March 7, 2021

3 months for repairs, road closure likely after Penang Bridge fire

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GEORGE TOWN: It will take at least three months to repair the major power supply cable from Seberang Perai to the island that caught fire under the Penang Bridge, a state exco man said today.

The repair work could also mean closure of one lane on both sides of the bridge for some time.

Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the incident caused a 35-second power outage in parts of the island, but power was restored as backups were switched on.

He said the backups were part of a four-circuit power supply system, primarily via a submarine cable supplying 1,180 megawatts (MW) while the Glugor power plant is able to generate 310MW.

The average power demand for the island was 700MW and there was more than double of that on tap to meet demand, he said.

Zairil said a detailed repair plan would be obtained once Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) holds a meeting with Penang Bridge’s concessionaire, PLUS Bhd, today.

“The time taken for the repairs would depend on the level of damage and negotiations with PLUS over the need for road closures,” he said, adding that TNB was confident it would not take more than three months.

PLUS said the rightmost lanes on the bridge on both sides will be closed to traffic “for a few days” at least to allow TNB, firemen and police to investigate the incident.

“In the meantime, we would like to advise motorists to use the second bridge so as to avoid potential traffic buildup,” it said in a statement.

Yesterday, TNB said the fire involved a 132kV cable from the main intake substation from Bukit Tengah on the mainland to Bayan Mutiara, near Pantai Jerejak, on the island.

TNB grids chief Husaini Husin said the cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained.

The fire caused traffic jams on both sides of the bridge, with the typical 20-minute drive becoming a three-hour crawl, as firefighting work was carried out.

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