Hoi An to spend $860,000 strengthening vulnerable Pagoda Bridge

By Dac Thanh   July 4, 2019 | 04:59 pm PT
Hoi An to spend $860,000 strengthening vulnerable Pagoda Bridge
Tourists visit the 400-year-old Pagoda Bridge, one of the top tourist attractions in Hoi An. Photo by Shutterstock/anhanh.
Hoi An is working on a renovation plan costing up to VND20 billion ($860,000) to save its 400-year-old bridge from possible collapse.

The People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province has approved the project to restore the iconic bridge and assigned the Hoi An administration as its main investor, who will choose consultants for the work.

Nguyen Van Son, vice chairman of Hoi An, said officials expect to complete the procedures before October 31 and submit a proposal to the Quang Nam People’s Committee and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

He also expects the renovation to begin in early 2020 and estimates that it would cost VND15 billion to VND20 billion.

The Pagoda Bridge, built by Japanese traders in the 17th century, and a national relic that appears on VND20,000 bills, has suffered serious deterioration in recent years even after seven restorations. Fears that the bridge is in danger of collapsing have prompted local and international experts to discuss ways and means to save it.

Local officials last May announced they would limit the number of tourists visiting the bridge to 20 at a time.

The bridge stretches 18 meters across a canal that runs into the Thu Bon River. Many poles and beams supporting the structure have rotted and cracked, in most part due to heavy flooding in recent years. A report by the United Nations Environment Program, UNESCO and the Union of Concerned Scientists listed Hoi An among UNESCO heritage sites that are most threatened by climate change.

The ancient town of Hoi An was recognized as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1998 and has become one of the top holiday destinations in Vietnam, attracting nearly five million visitors last year, including 3.7 million foreigners.

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