I have always marvelled at how the Piasau Bridge make life so convenient for my friends living in Piasau Camp as well as those who needed to travel faster to Lutong. When the Nightingale was still ferrying many of us to and from the hospital we could take a longer route just to buy nice things from Ng Siang Hap.
The Piasau bridge not only built relationships but it always provided many children wonderful memories of life on the peninsular. How many of them remember a party or two at the Piasau Boat Club. And how many of them remember going to the air strip just to fly kites or watch the fishermen come in. Crossing the bridge and having all the wooden plank noise under the tires was memorable.
But unknown to many of them the bridge has many stories built into each nut and bolt.
Who built it?
A contractor ,China-born Lee Tung ,who passed away on 25th November 2004,built it just about 50 years ago.
According to his daughter, he himself was skeptical about building the bridge!! The bridge was to be built across the Miri River at Piasau so as to provide an alternate road access to Piasau Camp, Golf club and the then Miri General Hospital. The design was a combination of two long beams spanning across and partially supported by steel wires from two towers at each end. These cables of high tension wires could support an immense weight. To allow for expansion and contraction a gap remained between the two arms that would reach out from their abutment. The gap could then be bridged by a single beam.
All the main structures were to be built using metal parts, fitted and joined together with bolts and nuts. The walking surface was laid with wooden planks placed horizontally across. The central of the bridge was to be used for motor vehicles and on both sides for pedestrian walkways. The bridge allowed for only one single lane of traffic to cross at any one time. To regulate the flow of traffic, a set of
traffic lights was installed at both end of the bridge.
He had only to supply the workers to build it. Yes he did just that. Even when the engineer in charge went away for three weeks he was able to place the last beam in place.
My thanks and tribute to a man who "built" for his fellowmen.
Source : Lee Shoon Yin - Miri 2008
Photos : Sarawakiana