Hue starts construction of new walkway on iconic river using rare, valuable timber

By Vo Thanh   February 26, 2018 | 05:38 pm PT
The concrete, wood-paneled walkway on the Perfume River is part of the former capital's plan to boost tourism.

Vietnam's former capital Hue has started construction of a new walkway street along the Perfume River in a bid to draw more tourists.

Once completed, the walkway will connect the existing Nguyen Dinh Chieu walking street with Ly Tu Trong Park. It will be 4 meters (13 feet) wide and will run for 380 meters along the southern bank of the river, supported by concrete pillars planted in the riverbed. Its surface will be paneled with lim (Erythrophleum fordii) wood, a rare and valuable timber in Vietnam.

"We hope this will create a new focal point, a new look for the Perfume River," Hue's chairman Nguyen Van Thanh said.

Workers plant concrete pillars into the riverbed, which would serve as foundation for the new walking street. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

Workers plant concrete pillars into the riverbed to serve as foundations for the new walkway. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

According to the city's leaders, work on the project was originally scheduled to start in July 2016 and be completed in time for the 10th Hue Festival this April. It was however delayed and is currently expected to be finished in late 2018.

This walkway is the first part of Hue's project to improve city planning along the Perfume River and boost tourism. The project is joint effort between the city and the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and received $6 million in funding from the South Korean agency.

The full project will cover a total area of nearly 840 hectares (2070 acres), and will include the renovation of an area of over 313 hectares of land stretching 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) along both banks of the Perfume River.

In addition to the new walkway, the project will include the renovation of existing parks and the addition of an outdoor stage, a walking plaza, new parks, commercial buildings and sightseeing spots.

However, the project has been criticized by many of Hue's cultural experts who fear it will destroy the green space along the river. The choice of material for the walking street has also raised eyebrows as lim wood, while durable and water-resistant, is a rare and very expensive material due to overexploitation.

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