VietNamNet Bridge - With a budget of up to VND300 billion (nearly $15 million), Hanoi’s oldest bridge is being repaired and reinforced in the biggest overhaul over the past century.
The Long Bien Bridge has been used for over 112 years. The bridge, which is currently used for trains and light traffic like walking and cycling, has severely deteriorated, endangering the safety of train operations and traffic in general.
Many spans of the bridge have been replaced by temporary girders. Rusty bridge piles posed a high risks for trains and vehicles crossing the bridge.
The bridge will be restored in two phases. In the first phase, it will be reinforced to ensure safety for railway services and traffic to 2020.
In the second phase, the bridge will be renovated into an urban road after the Hanoi urban rail project, Route 1 (Yen Vien - Ngoc Hoi) is finished.
The Vietnam Railways Corporation is in charge of the project. The corporation has said that it chose its best workers and experts to conduct the repair.
The repair is ongoing and will be completed at the end of 2015.
The 2,290-m Long Bien Bridge was built between 1899 and 1902 by the French, and opened to traffic in 1903.
The bridge was upgraded twice during the 1995-2010 period with a total investment of VND116 billion ($5.5 million). However, over the past four years, the bridge has continued to deteriorate.
As the only bridge across the Red River that connected Hanoi to the highway leading to the northern port city of Hai Phong, the bridge played a crucial role in many important events in the country's history, including the independence wars.
The bridge was initially called Doumer. At the time of construction, the over-2km-long bridge was one of the world's largest bridges, and one of the most important works of the Far East.
The Doumer Bridge was known as the first steel bridge across the Red River in Hanoi. It was built in 1898 and completed in 1902 by contractor Daydé et Pillé, under the leadership of the Indochina Governor Paul Doumer.
After the country’s liberation, the bridge was renamed Long Bien.
For over 100 years, witnessing many changes since the country's wartime to peacetime, Long Bien Bridge has become a symbol of the history of Vietnam.
Under a long-term plan, a new steel railroad bridge will be built in the vicinity to replace Long Bien Bridge. A profile of the bridge is being compiled so it can be recognized as a national heritage site.