Min­istry of Con­struc­tion sees ur­gent need for Yan­gon-Than­lyin bridge re­place­ment

The Myanmar Times - - News - ZAY YAR LINN za­yarlinn@mm­times.com SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

A BRIDGE link­ing down­town Yan­gon with Than­lyin town­ship across the Bago River is be­ing tested be­yond its lim­its and “could break at any time” ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial at the Min­istry of Con­struc­tion, who said the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to build a stronger sec­ond bridge as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

Yan­gon-Than­lyin 1 Bridge was de­signed for small ve­hi­cles, but is be­ing crossed each day by large trucks, U Kyaw Lin, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary for the con­struc­tion min­istry, told The Myan­mar Times.

“A train line runs across the cen­tre of the bridge. Only small ve­hi­cles should drive along the two-lane road, which passes along the ex­treme edges of the steel cross­ing. But large ve­hi­cles are cross­ing it too. It has the po­ten­tial to break at any time,” he said.

Around 15,000 ve­hi­cles cross the bridge each day from down­town Yan­gon to the Univer­sity of East Yan­gon, Thi­lawa spe­cial eco­nomic zone and fac­to­ries in Than­lyin. Traf­fic jams are com­mon as the ap­proach roads are nar­row and a sin­gle break­down can block the bridge.

“We will build a par­al­lel four-lane bridge as quickly as pos­si­ble af­ter the Pyidaungsu Hlut­taw ap­proves the project,” U Kyaw Lin said.

The Union gov­ern­ment has agreed to the Yan­gon-Than­lyin 3 bridge, con­nect­ing Than­lyin with Thaketa across the river, and plans have been drafted in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA), which has of­fered fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy.

“We will need to buy land to build the ap­proach roads to the bridge – JICA has writ­ten up the de­tailed plans,” he said.

The con­struc­tion min­istry built the orig­i­nal bridge with Chi­nese tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance be­tween 1988 and 1993. The rail­way was the cen­tre­piece and the roads were built to fit around it. The 23-year-old bridge was trans­ferred to Myanma Rail­ways once complete.

Myanma Rail­ways ten­ders the bridge to pri­vate com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing cur­rent op­er­a­tor Aung Naing Thu Com­pany, who pay for main­te­nance and col­lect toll fees in re­turn. – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

and Khine Thazin Han

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