Feb 20, 2014 / 10:58

Hanoi authorities approve Long Bien Bridge restoration

The Hanoitimes - Hanoi municipal authorities approved the local Department of Transport’s proposal to upgrade and restore Long Bien Bridge.

“Building a new bridge is not a difficult matter, but upgrading Long Bien Bridge poses challenges because it is culturally significant and must be preserved," said the deputy director of the Hanoi Transport Department, Nguyen Xuan Tan.

There have been a number of possibilities proposed by the Ministry of Transport, such as building a bridge spanning the Red River under urban railway No. 1, Tan said the relocation or upgrade of Long Bien Bridge cannot be a unilaterally made decision, but should be subject to careful, scientific consideration which includes all aspects, including site clearance and relocation.

The ministry also mentioned the options of building a new bridge at the current location of Long Bien Bridge, rebuilding part of the bridge and relocating part of the bridge near its current location.

Engineer Tran Huy Anh said Long Bien holds special historical significance to Hanoi and should be protected. He also said that none of the three solutions given by the Ministry of Transport are appropriate.

Hanoi's urban railway route, Yen Vien-Ngoc Hoi, is 28.6 km long, and was built with funds from Vietnam Railway. Construction began in 2013 and it is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Earlier, at a meeting held by Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association, Nguyen Nga, an architect who lived in worked in Paris for many years proposed turning Long Bien Bridge into an outdoor museum, but this idea faced controversy.

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, Long Bien Bridge was built in 1898 by the Dayde and Pille Company, and inaugurated in 1903. At the time, it was the longest bridge in Indochina and one of the four longest bridges in the world.

With a length of 1,682m including 19 steel spans, the bridge is a fine example of the engineering featured in the Paris Eiffel Tower. The bridge, having survived countless bombings, stands as a symbol of Vietnam's courageous fight for liberty and serves as a connection between Hanoi's past and present.