Bai Chay Bridge over the Cua Luc Straits next to the World Natural Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay was open to traffic on December 2. With a span of 435m, it is the worlds longest centrally-supported cable-stayed concrete bridge to give fresh impetus to socio-economic development in the locality and the northern key economic region.
Construction of the VND2,140 billion bridge was designed by Japan’s Bridge and Structure Institute Inc. and started in August 2003 by Japanese JV Shimizu-Sumitomo Matsu and several Vietnamese sub-contractors.
The project has three bidding contracts (BC). BC1 and BC3 are the two leading roads at the two ends of the bridge. BC 2 includes a main bridge and a road bridge with a total investment of VND1,068 billion. The 903m long bridge has two 137-m high towers and four bracing cable systems. It has a main pier span of 435m – the largest ever in the world compared to similar bridges such as France’s Elorn, the US’s Sunshine Skyway and Mexico’s Puenete Coatzacoaltos. The 25.3m wide roadway has seven lanes with four for vehicles, two for conventional means of transport and a footpath.
Engineer Vu Huu Hoang, director of the Bai Chay Bridge project said all technical specifications of the bridge meet international standards. With a 50-m clearance, 50,000 DWT ships can travel under the bridge easily.
“Construction of the bridge was under strict scrutiny and test results showed this is a perfect bridge,” said Mr Hoang, adding that the bridge could withstand earthquake measuring category 7 on the Richter scale.
Standing on the bridge anyone can have a good view of Ha Long City and part of Ha Long Bay.
To build the bridge, the Ha Long municipal People’s Committee and people spared no effort to ensure land acquisition for the project to get off to a good start. As many as 523 households around the construction site voluntarily moved into new places almost two months before the deadline.
Engineer Yanagawa from Japan’s Bridge and Structure Institute Inc., who is also co-director of the project, thanked the local administration and people for creating favourable conditions for contractors to implement the project on schedule. He said he has worked on six big bridges around the world, but Bai Chay is the No1 bridge in terms of the quality and perfection.
With the bridge, from now on, local people will no longer be held up between the eastern and western parts of the city. The environment of the World Natural Heritage Site nearby will be improved considerably as there are no more particles discharged from 20 ferryboats consuming nearly 1,600 tonnes of diesel every year. Cargo ships will also find it easier to dock at Cai Lan deepwater seaport for goods handling.
Meanwhile, Pham Ngoc Nam, a resident in Ha Long City said that the bridge will create a breakthrough in local tourism development. He said it will bridge the gap between the two parts of the city in terms of architecture and business activities, including tourism services.
“From Bai Chay, I only need to cross the bridge into Hon Gai town to have breakfast or coffee or vice versa,” said Mr Nam.
Local people are very proud of the bridge as it is connected to National Highway 18A, stretching from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport to Mong Cai town. The bridge is expected to give fresh impetus to socio-economic development in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh province and the northern key economic region.
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