Saigon authorities dismantle 100-year-old French bridge

By Huu Khoa   April 22, 2019 | 01:05 pm GMT+7

The century-old Phu Long Bridge between Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong Province has been dismantled since authorities fear for its safety.

Saigon authorities dismantle 100-year-old French bridge

Rising up above the Saigon River and built in the style of the Eiffel Tower in 1913 during the French colonial era, the bridge had deteriorated to a point where it could have endangered people and vehicles using it.

Saigon authorities dismantle 100-year-old French bridge - 1

It used to have a railroad track linking Saigon and Binh Phuoc Province beyond Binh Duong, built by the French to serve their rubber business, but it is no longer in use. The road however remained a major traffic route until recently.

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After more than 100 years, many parts of the bridge have degraded.

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The dismantling is expected to cost VND10 billion ($430,400) and take until September this year. Afterwards some parts will be preserved at the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City.

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With bigger ships in use these days, the bridge also prevents the passage of vessels beneath it

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The bridge has five pillars and six beams. During the Vietnam War it was damaged in 1954 and 1974. It was repaired with part of the surface covered with concrete and the rest with iron.

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On the first day of demolition last Saturday many commuters were surprised to be told the bridge was blocked and they had to turn around. "I did not catch the news that the bridge would be taken down," Thai Van Long of Binh Duong said.

"My family usually uses this bridge when traveling to Saigon."

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Pham Van Hung, another Binh Duong resident, said he felt sorry that the bridge, about which he has many memories, would no longer exist. "As kids, my friends and I used to jump off the bridge into the river. After all these years, the bridge is still beautiful in my eyes."

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Vehicles will now use a new concrete bridge built a kilometer away in 2012. The new bridge, also called Phu Long, is 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) long and 26 meters wide and has six lanes.

 
 
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