04 Jan 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - The acceptance of a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will be used for the construction of a second bridge across the Bago River connecting Thanlyin and Yangon has been approved, said a Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Lwin Ko Latt.
The first instalment on the JICA loan totals US$36 million (K56.1 billion).
"The budget for the new bridge has been approved following the signing of the agreement for the project in July 2017. Now we have received the first instalment worth of K56 billion. The next instalments will follow annually," he said.
"The loan for the bridge carries an interest rate of 0.01 percent. The government has been accepting loans with interest rates of between 0.01 and 1.5 pc to implement infrastructure projects in the country," said U Htay Oo, director of the Bridge Department under the Ministry of Construction.
"We think another bridge needs to be built so that Thanlyin will be more developed and new town areas can be extended. After construction of the bridge is finished, an existing one will continue to be used with restrictions," said U Htay Oo.
As the bridge is being financed by an international loan, the project's progress will be monitored by parliament, he added.
"We should get it finished as soon as possible so that we can benefit from it sooner and repay the debt. The longer it takes, the more costs we sustain," said Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Lwin Ko Latt.
"We have spoken with Japan about starting the project in March. The estimated budget is around US$289 million. It is expected to be completed in 2023," said U Htay Oo, adding that the design of the bridge has been drawn up and submitted for confirmation.
The bridge, to be called the No.3 Thanlyin Bridge, will be built 125m from the existing No.1 Thanlyin Bridge. The new bridge, expected to measure 1,928 metres, will be a steel cable-stayed design that will connect Yangon, Thaketa Township and Thanlyin.
Myanmar's economy depends on cooperation with regional countries and projects such as this are important to the country's development, said Construction Minister U Win Khine at Hluttaw.
In December, construction of the Dala Bridge, also known as the Myanmar – Korea Friendship Bridge, that will connect Yangon City and Dala Township, was also given the green light, according to the Ministry of Construction and the Yangon Regional Government.
Construction of the bridge will commence following a delay of six years. The project had faced delays because of disagreements between the Ministry of Construction and Myanma Port Authority about its measurements.
Once completed in 2021, the bridge will ease travel between Yangon City and Dala, Twante and Kawhmu townships and also reduce traffic congestion in Yangon City.
The 1867m Dala Bridge is being funded by a US$137.833 million loan from the South Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund and US$30.3 million from the government of Myanmar.