Yangon-Dala bridge construction to begin in December

The architectural design of Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge.
The architectural design of Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge.

After years of delays, construction on the bridge that will connect downtown Yangon to Dala Township, across the Yangon River, is now scheduled to begin in December, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Construction.

The governments of Myanmar and South Korea agreed to fund the bridge in 2012, but construction was delayed until late 2016 by disagreements over compensation that had to be paid by people affected by the project. This year, the project was further delayed when the Myanmar Port Authority petitioned the construction ministry to alter the design of the bridge so that it would not obstruct port activities.

The ministry responded that parts of the port authority’s demands were either too expensive or technically impossible. In June, more than 1,000 Dala residents staged a protest calling for construction to begin immediately.

The bridge will have a water clearance of 49 meters (rather than the port authority’s requested 54 meters) and a width of 370 meters. The cost of the project is expected to be US$168 million, of which US$138 million will come from a loan from South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund and US$30 million will come from the Myanmar government.

The bridge, which will have entrances on downtown Yangon’s Phonegyi Road and in the town of Dala, will provide a quicker alternative to crossing the Yangon River by ferry or using the more remote existing bridge.

Upon its completion the bridge is expected to give a boost to the development of several townships south of Yangon, including Dala, Dala, Twantay, Kawhmu, Kungyangon, and parts of Ayeyawady Region.

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