12/17/2013

Crooked bridge and crooked expressway

When Mahathir insisted on building his crooked bridge everyone had a good laugh. For whatever crazy reasons, he wanted to demolish a land bridge in the form of a solid causeway just to build a bridge in its place, presumably more efficient in that way and awe inspiring. Fortunately the Malaysian govt had the commonsense not to believe him and his crooked bridge.

How can a bridge be more efficient that a piece of land with relatively little maintenance and could easily be expanded to take in more load? How could a straight causeway, with shorter distance to travel be less effective than a crooked bridge with more distance to cover and high in the air? And there would be the cost of demolition and relocation cost of the causeway and the water pipes and all the businesses in JB town to account for.

While the crooked bridge is now history, Singapore has built a crooked expressway in Marina South and capped with an undersea tunnel and earning the accolade of being the most expensive stretch of road on earth. While Mahathir failed to get his pet project off the ground, Singapore got its pet project underground and under the sea.

In many ways, the crooked bridge and the crooked expressway have a lot of similarities. Cost is definitely one. A simple surface road plus a bridge could be much cheaper than the elaborate and highly geared tunnel with so many electrical and safety gadgets attached to it. And it is crooked, and its existence led to a stretch of ECP being chopped off. The trade off is a bigger piece of land to build more highrise buildings. Driving through a straight expressway from Tanjong Pagar to Fort Road must be faster and more economical on fuel and tyre wear for sure. Could a straight tunnel work and still create additional space?

Suffice to note these similarities, and there are many more that are obvious to everyone. Both are state of the art engineering feats, and monuments of achievements for whoever desired them, a legacy of sort.

And one thing for sure, the crooked bridge and crooked expressway would cost the users that much more in tolls to be paid and time to travel for the unnecessary distance added on. To the masterminds of these two projects, there must be great reasons and benefits to build them crooked instead of straight. Crooked is definite better than straight in both cases.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is good feng sui...or maybe to accumulate as many vehicles as possible within the bridge...so that drivers know how long is the queue and to avoid that cause way.

Think out of the box lah...

Matilah_Singapura said...

Money lah. You want infrastructure? Then you pay. Oh...wait...you don't want infrastructure...nevermind, you'll pay anyway.

virgo49 said...

mahathir got 20/20 foresight.

If sinkie land ruled by the ah neys and if they to invade mat land, the crooked bridge would slow them down.

Lang bridge heavy military wares can cross thru but crooked bridge cannot

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a crooked bridge in the first place. The initial idea was to demolish part of the causeway with a bridge over it. But Goh Chock Tong was so emotional and sentimental of keeping the causeway, but in reality, concerned about Malaysian warships and barges carrying containers from the two Malaysian ports ( not sampans, pleasure yatchs, small boats, kayaks etc ) plying easily from east to west of the straits.

The said...

Crooked structures are for crooks.