KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar is confident that the new drawbridge in Kuala Terengganu, the first in Southeast Asia, will have a positive effect on the local economy.
The bridge, which will be temporarily open to the public from June 2 to 17, has already generated a buzz on social media with many taking selfies in front of the structure and posting them online.
“We have one here in Terengganu, how about your state?” is one of the captions used.
Samsuri said even though the 638m-long drawbridge connecting Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Nerus would only be open on a temporary basis to allow the authorities to test its operation system, the response from motorists is expected to be overwhelming.
He said once the bridge is fully operational and open to traffic, the number of tourist arrivals to Terengganu is expected to rise by 20% in the first year.
Positive impact is also expected in the surrounding areas such as Seberang Takir and Gong Badak.
He said he hoped the people would seize the opportunity to venture into small businesses or provide services that could improve their economic status.
“We (the state government) are also considering the possibility of creating interesting tourist spots with food stalls, not only to enliven the waterfront areas but also to promote local products,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview at Wisma Darul Iman here.
The RM248 million drawbridge, which has two 16-storey towers, was inspired by the London Tower Bridge in England.
Part of the Kuala Terengganu City Centre development project, it is the fourth bridge connecting Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Nerus. The three existing ones are the Sultan Mahmud Bridge, Pulau Rusa Bridge and Pulau Sekati Bridge.
Construction of the bridge, which has yet to be named, began in August 2014. It is designed to be lifted to allow ships to pass through beneath.