Crowds gather at dawn to use Terengganu drawbridge

The bridge connects Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Nerus. (Bernama pic)

KUALA TERENGGANU: Excitement ran high as people gathered as early as 6am to take a closer look at South-East Asia’s first drawbridge, which connects Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Nerus, which opened this morning.

A check by Bernama showed cars lining the road in both directions at the junction to the 638-metre drawbridge. As soon as the barrier was lifted at 7am, motorists and motorcyclists honked excitedly as they were among the first group to cross.

Several visitors stood by the side to take a video of the drawbridge being raised.

A local resident, Fauziah Jusoh, 42, said she came as early as 6am as she was excited at getting a closer look at the drawbridge.

“When I got to know the drawbridge would open today, I was very excited. Just now, after sahur and performing Subuh prayers, I quickly got ready to come here,” she told Bernama today.

The Kuala Terengganu-born Fauziah was also proud to be among the earliest to use the new bridge.

Another resident, Muhammad Sollehin Yunus, 38, was happy because the travel time from his house at Seberang Takir to the city has been reduced to only 10 minutes, compared to 15 to 20 minutes previously.

“Before this, to go to Kuala Terengganu, I had to take a longer route, and now with this drawbridge, it is much shorter. Now, I only take the roundabout near Pantai Teluk Ketapang, and continue to the drawbridge and before I know it, I’ve reached the city,” he said.

The civil servant also waited excitedly at the intersection to enter the drawbridge from the Kuala Nerus direction.

The drawbridge with two 16-storey tall towers will open for a test run tomorrow until June 17.

East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) senior manager Razlee Hassan said approximately 300 to 400 vehicles are expected to use the drawbridge today.

However, he said members of the public were not allowed to walk on the bridge to take photographs as the footpath was still closed.

The temporary opening of the bridge for use by vehicular traffic was only for traffic trials and only to ease traffic congestion. The bridge is expected to be officially opened on June 17.

In conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, the surroundings of the drawbridge will be decorated with coloured lights at night from June 4-7.