A bridge too frail

A wooden bridge on Kan­daw­gyi Lake threat­ens to col­lapse any minute.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Weekend - BY LAE PHYU PYA MYO MYINT

KAN­DAW­GYI Park pro­vides an oa­sis in the middle of the sprawl­ing con­crete city of Yan­gon. Res­i­dents par­tic­u­larly cher­ish the old wooden bridge that goes all around Kan­daw­gyi Lake.

Fam­i­lies come there for weekend strolls. Lovers take their wed­ding pic­tures there. So do tourists.

Ev­ery day, hun­dreds of Yan­go­nites cross the bridge to go to work. B ut all of that is at risk. The bridge badly needs re­pair­ing but the Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee (YCDC) is drag­ging its feet.

When the Myan­mar Times raised the is­sue ear­lier this year, U Ko Ko Lwin, the head of the Gar­dens Depart­ment, as­sured us that the bud­get had been fore­seen for the bridge to be fixed.

But we are saddened to hear that YCDC could only gather K500,000 out of the 3 bil­lions ky­ats nec­es­sary to prop­erly re­pair it.

“We are draw­ing plans to re­design the bridge and use con­crete ma­te­rial. We will start in four places: be­hind the Bo­gyoke Aung San bronze statue, along the Karaweik, near the Pa­gan­lone is­land and near the West­ern Park restau­rant,” said U Tin Tun Oo, as­sis­tant head of the Roads and Bridges Depart­ment of YCDC.

“Wood is very ex­pen­sive, and it is not the most suit­able ma­te­rial near the wa­ter,” he added.

He also ex­plained that repa­ra­tion will be in­cre­men­tal and im­ple­mented one year af­ter the other, start­ing with the most de­crepit bits of the bridge – of which there are many.

En­tire planks of woods are miss­ing cre­at­ing dan­ger­ous holes. Rusty nails come out of the re­main­ing ones. Bar­ri­ers pre­vent­ing pedes­tri­ans to fall into the wa­ter are com­pletely de­stroyed. Each step taken on the bridge is ac­com­pa­nied by a rather scary squeak­ing noise.

Good view, but for the few Kan­daw­gyi Lake Bridge was re­paired in 2015 and 2016, but only in parts vis­i­ble from the main road in front of the Sig­na­ture restau­rant and in front of the Kan­daw­gyi Palace ho­tel.

The man­age­ment of the Kan­daw­gyi Palace as­sured Weekend that they had noth­ing to do with the ren­o­va­tion of the bridge in front of their ho­tel. Per­haps YCDC deemed these parts more ur­gent.

Tin­ker­ing on the edges might do for now, but if one day the bridge falls apart, ev­ery­body will come down with it – ir­re­spec­tive of their wealth.

Pho­tos: Aung Htay Hlaing

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