Con­ser­va­tion work on iconic U Bein Bridge set for 2018

The Myanmar Times - - News - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­

THE Ger­man govern­ment pro­vided €50,000 euro (K79.43 mil­lion) for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Man­dalay’s iconic U Bein Bridge sched­uled for the start of next year, said project leader Dr. Nay Chin Min from the Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity (Man­dalay).

Re­search for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the 1.2-kilo­me­tre bridge – which is be­lieved to be the old­est and long­est teak­wood bridge in the world – be­gan in 2016, said Nay Chin Min.

Ex­perts from TH Ge­orge Agri­cola Bochum Univer­sity in Cologne and of­fi­cials from Man­dalay City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee held a five-day work­shop in May to fi­nalise the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion plan for the bridge.

“The plan will be submitted to the re­gion govern­ment through U Myo Thit, Min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion,” Nay Chin Min said on Novem­ber 10.

“We will meet with the min­is­ter. Wood ex­perts from uni­ver­si­ties in Ger­many are in­vited to par­take in the project. It will start from Jan­uary to May, be­fore the rainy sea­son, or from Fe­bru­ary to June,” he added.

Tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise will be pro­vided from lo­cal and for­eign ex­perts with sev­eral Myan­mar wood con­ser­va­tion ex­perts, agen­cies and or­gan­i­sa­tions con­sulted for the project.

More­over, the re­gional govern­ment will sup­port the project by pro­vid­ing ma­chiner­ies, equip­ment, skilled work­ers and fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to cover the cost of the pil­lars.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search, con­crete pil­lars, which sus­tained heavy da­m­ages, were found to be weaker than the an­cient teak pil­lars.

U Bein Bridge was flooded in 2014 and teak wood pil­lars were re­placed by con­crete pil­lars. The re­pairs ex­ceeded K13 mil­lion and Myan­mar Teak­wood Com­pany pro­vided the teak.

“The bridge is not strong enough. The parts un­der­neath are de­cay­ing, al­though the bridge looks new due to the ren­o­va­tion,” said U Mint Htwe, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Amara­pura town­ship.

U Bein Bridge was built by U Bein, a lo­cal town of­fi­cial, in 1211 and fea­tures more than 1000 teak wood pil­lars. It mea­sures 7.8 fur­longs.

Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw

A small boat passes un­der U Bein Bridge.

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