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