Bridges are so much more than a functional access route. From Golden Gate to Tower Bridge, these public infrastructures are iconic landmarks that help shape the cities they represent.
The Darul Hana Bridge in Kuching, Sarawak, is intended to complement the new State Legislative Assembly Complex (DUN) to form a dynamic urbanscape—set against elegant parks and water features—that will be intrinsically linked to the identity of the city.
Officially opened in November 2017, the RM35 million bridge provides pedestrian access from the Kuching Waterfront in the south of the city to the new DUN, the Botanical and Orchid Gardens and beyond in the north. It will also provide pedestrian access from the surrounding villages to the city centre attractions, such as the Plaza Merdeka shopping mall, the international hotels strip and the cafés at the old Court House.
DESIGN AND FORM
The bridge form was developed in Kuching by Ng Chun Chien and Kamal Fozdar using cutting-edge 3D-modelling (RHINO) and structural analysis software (SAP2000). A MAKERBOT 3D-printer was used to produce accurate scale models of the bridge and its key components.
Designed with aesthetics and ergonomic considerations, the bridge is an S-shaped 3.25-metre-wide walkway that meanders 335 metres over the Sarawak River. Its curved plan allows a comfortable walkway gradient that is suitable for access by disabled persons, while still providing sufficient clearance for river vessels to pass beneath it. It also orients the bridge towards particularly attractive surrounding viewpoints.
Inclined concrete columns branching from the base of each tower support elliptical egg-shaped viewing platforms. Each platform is 30 metres long by 10 metres wide and covered with a golden roof to match the roof of the nearby DUN.
Nine inclined concrete ‘fingers’ support the sharply curved approach span at the Waterfront end of the bridge—the number of ‘fingers’
correspond to the number of points on the star at the centre of the state flag.
The bridge comprises two towers, a network of double-galvanised cables and a precast concrete walkway deck for a three-dimensional structural system that is light and naturally resistant to dynamic pedestrian-induced vibrations.
The load-bearing structure consists of a curved, one-side supported steel tube truss superstructure with two outwards inclined steel masts. The bridge was erected using the balanced cantilever method and built on three sets of in-river bored pile foundations. The main bridgeworks subcontractor worked with Stuttgart-based construction engineers SchlaichBergermann Partners to develop a construction methodology that removed the need for mid-river supports.
Despite the site constraints and other challenges, an efficient project execution plan and successful collaborations among various stakeholders helped to minimise construction risks involved in working on the Sarawak River.
The bridge’s steel spaceframe is suspended from two 50-metre-high steel towers that are angled steeply away from each other. Even though the towers pull in opposite directions, by carefully fine-tuning the walkway curvature and tower inclinations, the designers were able to balance all forces and keep all elements in harmony. This symbolises the state leaders’ efforts to bring balance and harmony in a multiracial and multicultural society.
The web of angled wires is reminiscent of the arched wings of a traditional Bidayuh bamboo bridge. When viewed from afar, the towers and cables resemble stylised hornbills—the state’s emblem. The bridge stands as a homage to its name—derived from Sarawak’s full name under the Brunei Sultanate, Sarawak Darul Hana—which means ‘Home to Peace and Tranquillity’.
Project Name: Darul Hana Bridge
Location: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Completion Date: 11 November 2017
Tower Height: 50 metres
Bridge Length: 335 metres
Walkway Width: 3.25 metres
Client: Government of Sarawak
Implementing Agency: Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC)
Turnkey Contractor: PPES Works (Sarawak) and Naim Land Sdn Bhd (joint venture)
Principal Designers: Ng Chun Chien; Kamal Fozdar
Civil & Structural Engineer: KTA (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: KTA (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd
Quantity Surveyor: PUBM Quantity Surveyors Sdn Bhd
Lighting Consultant: Philips Lighting Malaysia
Bridgework Contractor: SediaBena Sdn Bhd
Images: KTA (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd