The Design, Construction and Operational Maintenance of The Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge

Hashimah Hashim
Executive Director
KLCC Property Holdings Berhad, Kuala Lumpur

The skybridge linking the two supertall towers of Petronas was designed not just for its strong distinctive aesthetic feature, but also serves as a primary function for office occupants’ circulation. It also doubles as occupants’ emergency exit in the event of fire. It facilitates evacuation of the upper floors should there be an emergency in one tower. The architect, structural engineers and various other consultants led by KLCC project managers worked together and studied various design options to meet not just the architectural aspiration but also the structural integrity, functionality, constructability, maintenance and operational aspects of the bridge, before arriving at the final design. Extensive wind tunnel studies were carried out and, as an assurance, tuned mass dampers (TMD) were installed inside the slender 50-meter-long skybridge legs.

These TMD systems were maintained, and the movements of the towers and skybridge were monitored annually. After several years of monitoring, it was found that the effects of vortex shedding of the Skybridge legs was not considerable, and after consultation with the experts, it was agreed that the TMD would be deactivated. Once it was locked out, no further regular maintenance of the TMD major components would be required, except for visual inspection and structural integrity audits. Currently, local institutions are conducting studies on the building monitoring of the towers and skybridge.

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