Never-ending repair needs at U Bein Bridge continue
DESPITE extensive repairs and renovations already carried out earlier this year, pillars of Mandalay’s famed U Bein Bridge still need work. U Soe Win, chair of the Taungthaman Boat Association, said the renovation of the bridge, which spans Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura township, was far from complete.
Rotting beams and ruined flooring were replaced by the Myanmar Teakwood company last March at what U Nyo Myint Tun, director of the Mandalay branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, said was a cost of about K240 million.
U Soe Win said extensive repairs had also been carried out in 2014 with more than K13 million from the regional government. However, despite regular and extensive renovations, much work remained to be done at the west end of the structure.
“As many as 280 pillars have already been replaced. But there are 350 to 400 pillars at the west end that also have to be replaced. In some place, there are gaps where a pillar should be, and flooring and beams also have to be replaced,” he said yesterday.
He said that the structure of the bridge was still weak and some parts were precarious. As recently as August 1, pedestrians were temporarily banned from walking on the bridge after flooding had reached the walkway itself.
“Today, we are going to discuss this issue with the minister,” said director U Nyo Myint Tun.
Authorities complain that bridge users sometimes drop cigarettes into holes in the pillars, causing fires, or drop litter, including plastic and bags of betel spittle. Some ride bicycles on the bridge and Thingyan merry-makers have even been known to shake the bridge.
“We get more and more foreigners coming here now. Thousands have come here every day since October,” said U Soe Win.
The bridge was built in the Myanmar Era 1211 (around 1850) by Mayor U Bein, with 1086 teak pillars and four public rest houses.
– Translation by Win Thaw Tar
Tourists hire a boat at Taungthaman Lake and U Bein Bridge earlier this year.