My eyes trace the curvature of the bridge, weaving through the river. It’s 6:30am and streams of people cross from the North waterfront to the South. Different currents run side by side consisting of people enjoying the view whilst strolling and people striding briskly to get to work. A gentle heat from the sunrise begins to settle on my face, as an amber blanket rests on the river. The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly is dormant, awaiting the bustle and clamour of the day ahead. I am still drawn to the beauty of the bridge, effervescent and majestic. Amidst the ebb and flow of the city, the bridge’s attempts to be the quiet contributor is unsuccessful. When witnessing this scene where nature and technology collide, and cultures overlap, you can’t help but feel the bridge is the cornerstone of this new age.
A bridge is normally a functional structure with the sole purpose to allow passage over physical obstacles. The Darul Hana Bridge, was made with this in mind, yet it shoulders a burden that other constructions could. Unifying the North and South Waterfronts of Kuching, people can now freely cross and explore opposite sides within minutes. Accessibility to the kampung and the city is realised. The vision of harmony grows closer as the unification of Sarawak is manifested physically.
The newest addition to Sarawak’s innovative and meaningful landmarks marks Sarawak’s 50th year of independence from British rule. An engineering and creative masterpiece, the complex design was chosen in a competition amongst other worthy submissions. The S shape design was inspired by the epochal rivers coursing through the state. The Curvilinear Cable Steel pedestrian bridge spans the river’s width of 200 metres and is built upon three sets of in-river bored pile foundations. The bridge’s deck is constructed of epoxy coated precast concrete with tuned mass dampers under the deck to limit movement (or excitation) of the bridge deck. The result of the intricate planning and exact execution is style without compromising sturdiness and safety. The world’s leading consultants specialising in dynamic analysis came together to combine heads and meticulously plan. Of high priority was the bridge’s ability to accommodate all persons to cross; the curvilinear tubular steel walkway trusses with gentle gradients allow disabled people to also use the bridge.
The cables from the deck are attached to two-hybrid steel and concrete angled towers that face either side of the river. Both towers are fashioned after hornbills, Sarawak’s State Emblem. The bases of the towers have shaded viewing platforms 30 metres long and 11 metres wide.
The RM35 million project began construction in late 2013. His Excellency The Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, accompanied by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg officiated the opening ceremony on Nov 11, 2017. Thousands descended to the Waterfront to witness a splendour fireworks display that started at exactly 11:11pm. The excitement has been impossible to contain from the day it was open for use and continues to be an integral part of Kuching’s attractions. The bridge has already borne witness to several incredible events like the Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta and the Rainforest World Puppet Carnival in its short time being accessible.
The bridge has the distinction of having a unique design similar only to a handful of bridges in South-East Asia. The walkway at the top of the Langkawi cable car is a C shaped cable-stay bridge and bears the closest resemblance in design to the Darul Hana Bridge. However, the aesthetic appeal does not carry the same meaning as the Darul Hana Bridge.
The south waterfront is where Kuching’s businesses are thriving, with vibrant lights and sounds pulsating throughout day and night. If someone wanted to visit the other side, you would normally hire a sampan to go across. The alternate method available would be to take a long car ride around.
The Governor explained the meaning behind the bridge’s name. Literally translated from Arabic as “Peace and Tranquillity”, Darul Hana was also the name Sultan Ibrahim Ali Omar Shah, Sarawak’s first and only Sultan, gave to Sarawak. Carrying on the spirit of unity, the bridge provides connectivity between its people as foreshadowed by our Sultan. The Governor asserted that Darul Hana was the essence of Sarawak and would continue to be part of the State’s DNA.
The Chief Minister concurred with the Governor and expressed his hope that the bridge would also contribute towards increasing tourism in Sarawak. The increase of visitors may seem a natural consequence of the large-scale events in Malaysia, such as the SEA Games. However, the Chief Minister alluded to the bridge’s supporting structures like the cables and foundations that work in synergy; Sarawak is also the same and the attraction of our state both consists of and depends on the unity of its people.
The expanded link connecting the north and south of Kuching represents unity in diversity. Sarawak is rich in culture, with Chinese, Malays and natives living side by side and doing business together. Taking pride in our differences, the bridge serves as a significant reminder of Sarawakians’ ability to live harmoniously.
When you stand on the bridge you receive a view of Kuching previously unavailable. Excitement wells inside knowing you’re suspended above the river. Pride emerges upon the realisation that Kuching and Sarawak continue to progress with modernity.
The night time view is equally impressive as the daytime – incandescent lights flare up on both sides of the bridge, illuminating the path for people to cross on. Truly a sight to behold, the Darul Hana Bridge is deserving of its name as a centrepiece of physical and symbolic beauty. Representing unity amongst different races and cultures whilst effectively increasing tourism, the bridge draws people whether local or foreign.
As it continues to gain a reputation as an iconic landmark we believe the Darul Hana Bridge continues to usher positive change to Sarawak. Focus on harmony amongst communities and new technology to innovate business are integral to the future of Sarawak. Visit the Darul Hana Bridge to be part of history.
The Darul Hana Bridge was commissioned by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation. PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, jointly owned between Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd and SEDC, and Naim Land Sdn Bhd collaborated in joint venture in the construction of the project. KTA (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, in association with FOZDAR Pty Ltd (Australia), contributed as designers. Vibration engineering was managed by Sclaich Bergermann and Partners (Germany). Wind Tunnel testing was conducted by Global Wind Technology Services Pty Ltd (Australia).
Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC)
6th-11th Floor, Menara SEDC,
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman,
93100 Kuching, Sarawak.
+6082 416 777 +6082 424 330
PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd
1st - 4th Floor, Lot 619-623,
Section 62 Jalan Padungan,
93100 Kuching, Malaysia.
+6082 340 588 +6082 340 695