GEORGE TOWN: Penang is a step closer to becoming a bicycle friendly state with the construction of a spiral bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Bayan Lepas near here. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the structure, the first such one in Malaysia, will cost the Penang Island City Council RM8.9 million to build. He said construction started in July 2016 and the project is expected to be completed by January next year. He said the project was part of the "Coastal Cycling Route" identified Penang Bike Path Master Plan 2010 to link Tanjung Tokong on the northeast to the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge on the southwest of Penang island. "The master plan will also see a link being created between Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) and the Penang International Airport (PIA) via Bayan Baru," he said when visiting the construction site yesterday. A spiral bridge, also known as a loop bridge, is a bridge which loops over its own road to allow the road to climb rapidly. The Nescio Bridge in IJburg at the Netherlands is a spiral bridge for cyclists and pedestrians while Coventry in the United Kingdom has the Glass Bridge which rises in a spiral. Lim said a bicycle path network of 18.5km has been constructed from Tanjung Tokong to the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge. He said a further 11.6km was under construction and expected to be ready by 2018. The entire plan is expected to be completed by 2020. Mayor Datuk Patahiyah Ismail meanwhile said a 1.4km bicycle path to link Padang Kota Lama to Komtar was already completed. She said other completed projects included a 12.5km link from the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Queensbay and thereon to the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge. "We are confident the number of people who cycle will increase in Penang," she said in her speech which was read out by council secretary Yew Tung Seang.