Shaziman -- Site visit on Monday.
GEORGE TOWN: The second Penang bridge which is 65 per cent completed, is expected to be ready earlier than the November 2013 deadline.
Works Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor said that with the earnest effort by the contractor, he was confident the project would be ready two months earlier than scheduled.
"Everything is going on smoothly and the project contractor expects 70 per cent completion by the end of this year," he said after visiting the site Monday.
"The progress is affected to a certain extent by weather conditions but if the weather permits, I believe the project will be completed earlier as the progress now is two per cent ahead of schedule."
Shaziman also urged companies taking part in the construction to train more people.
"I regret to learn that this year there is no participation by local university engineering students in the project, as this is a good opportunity for them to gain knowledge, " he said.
Last year about 50 undergraduates participated and were given an allowance during their training.
"Such a bridge can be built anytime if we have the money, but gaining knowledge from it is important and I want our people to do that," said Shaziman.
The project, which costs less than RM4.5 billion, is a joint venture between China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and UEM Builders Berhad. Construction began in 2008.
The 24km bridge, the longest in Southeast-Asia, connects Batu Maung on the island and Batu Kawan on the mainland. -- Bernama