13 June 18 - Six years after it was mooted, a plan to construct a bridge connecting Dala township in southern Yangon to downtown Yangon has yet to be implemented owing to disagreements about measurements between the Ministry of Construction (MOC) and Myanma Port Authority (MPA), which is under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The two ministries have agreed on a height of 49 meters for the bridge, but have yet to agree on the distance between the supporting pillars under the bridge.
According to the MPA, the current measurements of the bridge will prevent large container ships and other vessels from berthing at the Yangon ports. It will also disturb port operators' future plans for expansion in Yangon.
"The current measurements of the bridge will place constraints on the types of ships that can enter our ports as well as limit future capacity expansion at the ports. This will limit trade and damage the economy," said U Ni Aung, managing director of MPA, which held a press conference regarding the delay in construction at its office yesterday.
U Khin Maung Swe, deputy director general of the Bridge Management Department under the MOC, said discussions and negotiations are still ongoing with the MPA and a commencement date for construction has yet to be fixed.
Construction of the 1872-meter bridge, which is also known as the Myanmar-Korea friendship bridge, was first mooted in May 2012, after former president U Thein Sein visited South Korea.
At the time, the MPA proposed a height of 54 meters from the water and a distance of 350 meters between the base piers of the bridge. The project was stalled in 2013.
In 2014, a new design for the bridge, provided by the Koreans, was proposed, with subsequent changes made by the MPA.
In 2015, parliament approved the construction of the bridge, which is estimated to cost $168 million to build. That same year, South Korea signed an agreement to provide a loan of $138 million for the bridge, with the remaining to be funded by the Myanmar government.
Construction of the bridge was expected to start in 2017 and be complete in 2021.
In January though, the MPA said construction of the base piers of the bridge in the water would involve a narrowing of Yangon's waterways, which will constrain the types of vessels able to call at the ports. It suggested that the base piers be built on land instead.
It also suggested that the construction of a tunnel connecting the two townships as an alternative to the bridge.
However, the MOC has since replied that a tunnel would be more expensive to build than a bridge and further delay plans by several years due to the time needed to design the project.
Source: Myanmar Times