KUALA KRAI:More than 2,000 residents in Kampung Manjor and Kampung Pemberian, near here, can now heave a sigh of relief as they can cross the Kelantan River safely using the newly completed concrete bridge costing almost RM30 million for the past three months.

The new bridge provides comfort and convenience to the local residents as they no longer have to paddle across the river whenever the old bridge collapsed due to strong currents particularly during the monsoon season.

Kampung Pemberian community chief Nordin Hashim said that the residents of the two villages had been waiting for the new bridge for the past 50 years.

He said that in the past, one of the main problems was the safety of school students who had to use the old bridge to attend school daily and from time to time they were forced to cross the river using a boat whenever the bridge collapsed and washed away by strong currents.

“‘Alhamdulillah’ (praise be to Allah), for the past three months the residents here have been using the new concrete bridge and the road is also wider and more comfortable, complete with an emergency lane,” he said, when met in the village here today.

Meanwhile, one of the Kampung Pemberian residents, Salleh Harun, 74, said that he had lived in the village for the past 50 years and in the early years, nearly every resident owned a boat to cross the river as there was no bridge constructed then and there was also less population in the area.

“When the government built a temporary bridge 30 years ago it was still not safe as it was built too close to the water surface and frequently collapsed due strong currents,” he said.

However, now he and fellow villagers can heave a sigh of relief using the new concrete bridge and it is safe to use at all times regardless of the season including the current monsoon season.

“In the past, whenever it was monsoon season, residents would make sure the boat was in good condition without any leak as it could be life threatening when navigating the river as the water level rose sharply as well as the strong currents,” he said.