VietNamNet Bridge – Fragile suspension bridges in the mountainous districts of Yen Bai Province are threatening the lives of residents who cross them every day.


The Khe Rong suspension bridge in Yen Bai Province’s Tran Yen District is one of 38 bridges in the northern province that need urgent repair. — Photo: VNA/VNS



The Khe Rong suspension bridge, which spans the Rao canal in Tran Yen District, is one of dozens of bridges that need to be either repaired or replaced in the northern province. Stastictics compiled by the province’s transport department show that of 130 suspension bridges, 11 are damaged beyond repair.

Twenty-seven others require major repair to their decks, and their horizontal beams and vertical piers have been severely damaged, making them dangerous to cross.

The poor conditions of the bridge worries Bui Van Kieu, a local resident. The bridge vibrates every time motorbikes cross it, ready to collapse, Kieu said. Its joints have come loose and become rusted.

Some parts of the bridge are only held together by old ropes. Its deck is covered with rotten wood pieces with several holes in them, which are “darned” by local residents with bamboo and dried branches.

Kieu said that the bridge has a high volume of traffic as it connects Quy Mong and Kien Thanh communes.

Nguyen Ngoc Nguyen, head of Village 11 in Quy Mong Commune said local authorities had advised residents to only cross the bridge in small groups in order to avoid overloading it.

He was still terrified about the collapse of the Chu Va 6 Bridge in Lai Chau Province in 2014, which killed eight people and injured more than 30.

Nguyen Duy Khanh, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said the committee has encouraged residents to fix as much of the bridge as possible themselves with available materials. He also advised people to refrain from crossing the bridge to avoid accidents.

The mountainous terrain of the province and its lack of infrastructure resources hinder traffic, especially during the rainy season. In Village 3 of An Lac Commune, residents, mostly students, use a temporary bridge to cross a 50-meter-wide river every day.

The transport department had proposed improvement plans for 32 bridges, but only 13 have been repaired or replaced over the past two years.

Nguyen Trong Tien, head of the infrastructure division of the province’s transport department, said the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam agreed that there are 49 locations near streams and rivers in the province that need bridges, which would hopefully be designed at the beginning of next year.

The province reported 30 additional locations requiring bridges, but the directorate did not approve them, he said.