KUCHING: The Satok Suspension Bridge will be rebuilt this year to add more attraction to the nearby Medan Niaga Satok.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said he had instructed the director of state Public Works Department (PWD) to reconstruct the bridge, which was once an iconic landmark of the city.
He said the people, especially the older generation, had fond memories of the bridge, which had existed for about 78 years.
“Now that I am the chief minister, I want to pursue the rebuilding of Satok Suspension Bridge.
“I have instructed the PWD director to look into rebuilding it soonest. I hope construction work will begin this year,” he said at the fourth anniversary celebration of Medan Niaga Satok yesterday.
Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, believed that the Satok Suspension Bridge would also be good for tourism, fishing and walking exercise.
He said the bridge was once a popular tourist attraction in Kuching and he believed the bridge, if given a new life, would be an additional attraction to Medan Niaga Satok.
“There are a lot of sentiments attached to the bridge, particularly for the older people.
“Apart from providing a way of crossing the river, the bridge was also a romantic spot for dating couples,” he said in jest.
The Satok Suspension Bridge was constructed in 1923 and completed in 1926 by architect AS Lowe to hold 0.3m water pipes connecting the reservoir in Matang and Kuching town.
Nicknamed ‘San Francisco Bridge’ it was mainly used by pedestrians and vehicles up to 1,360kg.
It was 130 metres long and 2.3 metres wide, and was suspended 18 metres above the Sarawak River.
The bridge collapsed into the Sarawak River in 2004.
On another matter, Abang Johari announced that the maintenance fee at Medan Niaga Satok would be waived with immediate effect.
He said the hawkers would no longer have to pay the maintenance fee as the state government would be paying it (RM20,000 a month) on their behalf to Kuching North City Commission (DBKU).
“So the hawkers will enjoy free electricity, water and maintenance. Almost all are free, and if you cannot succeed , I don’t know.
“But this is what the state BN government is doing to help farmers and fishermen who are trading at Medan Niaga Satok,” he said.