Record breaking 24km earthquake and tsunami resistant bridge scoops engineering Oscar

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has awarded its 2015 Brunel Medal, which recognises excellence in civil engineering, to the Second Penang Bridge in Malaysia.

At 24 km, the Second Penang Bridge is the longest sea crossing in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, and is one of the largest sea crossing projects in the recent history of bridge construction around the world. The bridge is seismic resilient and tsunami resistant. In a region prone to natural disaster, it will save lives in the future.

The project overcame a number of design and construction challenges, and used many innovative methods. Durability planning, life-cycle costing and carbon footprint minimisation underpinned all aspects of the project. Extensive environmental monitoring and protection measures were also rigorously implemented during construction, including satellite imagery and marine water quality measurements.

ICE judges hailed the bridge, which opened to traffic on 1 March 2014,

“a vivid example of how civil engineering can overcome the merciless forces of nature and direct its resources to sustainable use.”

The Brunel Medal is one of many ICE Awards being presented at a ceremony in Westminster on Friday by BBC journalist Alice Bhandhukravi and ICE President Professor David Balmforth.

Top engineering facts about the Second Penang Bridge

  • The bridge is 94m wide and the overall length of the bridge is 24km (15 miles)
  • The bridge is also known as The Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge – after the Malaysian King.
  • In the main cable-stayed bridge construction, twenty-four 2.3m diameter piles bored to a depth of 127m – these are among the deepest bored pile operations in the world.
  • The Statnamic load test conducted was the biggest Statnamic load test ever conducted (at a load of 54MN).
  • The stay cables were installed onto the pylons using Malaysia’s first third-generation saddles, providing structurally efficient and aesthetically pleasing cable-pylon connections
  • The project saw the most extensive use of precast concrete hollow spun piles in bridgework construction. A large-scale piling operation successfully installed a record number of spun piles totalling 5,168.

The project is owned by Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, the main contractor was China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd, the consultant for design, construction supervision and engineering was AECOM Asia Co. Ltd and the consultant for design was the China Highway Planning and Design Institute.