Conservation work on iconic U Bein Bridge set for 2018
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.
A small boat passes under U Bein Bridge.