In-depth
Vietnamese-French woman to raise money to preserve Long Bien Bridge
  • | tienphong, dtinews.vn | March 06, 2014 04:26 PM

Nguyen Nga, a Vietnamese-French woman who has participated in various PR activities for Long Bien Bridge, said she is able to secure EUR80 million to preserve and restore the bridge.

 

 Ms Nguyen Nga

With a lifespan of 112 years, it is still serving over 20 trains and thousands of vehicles a day. Nga said she knew many people who want the authorities to turn Long Bien Bridge into an icon such as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty.

Nga has been building a conservation plan since 2009 and submitted it to the Ministry of Transport and Hanoi authorities. She agreed with the plan to build a new bridge located 186 metres away. "The Japanese government also said they would provide ODA the project. The French government also said ten years ago that they would give EUR10 million to preserve the bridge but the local authorities haven't responded to offers or given feedback to my plan."

As opposed to many, Nga does not want to make Long Bien Bridge into a national heritage site because it was not made by Vietnamese and the laws will bar the bridge from being restored. Talking about her plan to restore the bridge, Nga said she wanted to make this into a public-private partnership. The bridge will have a museum, cafes and restaurants inside old train cars.

"I gathered together several businesses in France and Vietnam who wish to work together on this project. I know our government has a limited state budget so we'll secure the money ourselves. We only want to be able to conserve and use the bridge for tourism to recover our capital." she said.

 

 Long Bien Bridge in urgent need of repair

Previously, controversy was raised after the announcement of the Yen Vien-Ngoc Hoi urban railway route project. The route would cross the Red River, and deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai confirmed that it would not interfere with Long Bien. However, concerns have still been raised after the Ministry of Transport then proposed a number of plans to restore Long Bien Bridge including rebuilding or relocating the bridge. Meanwhile, many news outlets in France have reported this news, saying that the bridge is an accomplishment of French colonial infrastructure.

On February 27, the Minister of Transport said they should follow the already-approved plan and build a new bridge that is 30 metres away from Long Bien Bridge for Yen Vien-Ngoc Hoi project. The other plan, in which the new bridge would be placed 186 metres away, is said to be too expensive and impractical by the ministry since the route would cross the Old Quarter.

At the end, the PM said he would like to keep the bridge where it is. He said, "Let's not take the bridge apart. We need more research and discussions to find out the most suitable location."

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