27 Aug 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - Construction of the Dala Bridge is now being carried out around the clock to be complete within the targeted timeframe, said project manager Mr Jong Bo Choi.

The bridge, also known as the Myanmar – Korea Friendship Bridge, is expected to cost US$168 million (K257 billion), and is being funded by a US$137.8 million loan from the South Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund at an interest rate of 0.01 percent. The remaining US$30.3 million will be funded by the Myanmar government.

Construction of the bridge, which will connect Dala township across the Yangon River to downtown Yangon, began in May 2019 and is slated to be complete in October 2022. In view of COVID-19, "we are running operations 24 hours a day to complete the project on schedule," said Mr Jong.

The four-lane cable-stayed bridge will be 4.3 kilometers in length and 27 meters in width. It will also feature a pipeline that will distribute freshwater to Dala township, where water shortage is a common issue. Dala is also one of the poorest townships in Yangon and its residents rely on small motorised boats to cross the river.

The project was originally announced in May 2012, after former president U Thein Sein visited South Korea. In 2015, parliament approved the construction of the bridge. Construction of the bridge was expected to start in 2017, but work on the bridge faced delays because of disagreements about the project's measurements between the Ministry of Construction and Myanma Port Authority.

Now, the waterway clearance of the bridge has been successfully modified and extended in height and width to allow containerships to pass under the bridge. There will be three columns each with a 110m depth in the river.

"Extending the width of the waterway clearance is a difficult part in the construction process but as the bridge is developed with Korean technology, it is within our capacity," said Mr Jong.

"A bridge connecting Yangon and Dala will make commuting easier and help with development of Dala," said Mr Oh Youna, First Secretary of the Korean Embassy in Yangon.

Mr Oh added that the Dala Bridge will also be connected to the Korea-led Dala New City Project, creating more opportunities for South Korean businesses to invest more in infrastructure and real estate in the area.

A memorandum of understanding on the preliminary survey of the Dala New City Project was signed between the Yangon Region government and Korea Land and Housing Corporation during the state visit of South Korea's President Moon Jae-In to Myanmar in September last year.

When complete, the project will include industrial zones, garment factories and high-rise buildings. It is expected to raise the living standards of residents in Dala.