A new and record-setting dual carriageway (divided highway) toll bridge was opened in the Malaysian state of Penang. The Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, which was formally designated Expressway 28 (E28) and is also known as the Penang Second Bridge, took a little over five years to construct.
With one lane for motorcycles and two lanes for other motor vehicles, the bridge carries traffic over the Penang Strait and links the township of Bandar Cassia in the Sebrang Perai region of mainland Peninsular Malaysia with the town of Batu Maung on Penang Island. The bridge was the only the second one to connect Penang Island with the mainland; the first such structure, the Penang Bridge, made its debut in 1985. The total length of the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge is 15 miles (24 km), with more than 10 miles (16.9 km) of the structure crossing over water. It is the longest bridge not only in Malaysia but all of Southeast Asia.
The Saturday night opening ceremony for the bridge was marked by a great deal of fanfare, including a fireworks display. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak officially announced during the ceremony that the bridge was being named after Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, who has reigned as the sultan (sovereign ruler) of Kedah on mainland Peninsular Malaysia since 1958. When the bridge named after him was opened, he was also serving as Malaysia’s elected monarch and head of state (Yang di-Pertuan Agong).