Korean investments could kick start long-delayed construction of Dala Bridge

An industrial zone to be developed by the Yangon regional government and Myanmar Wooree Co, a South Korean firm, at the west bank of the Yangon River could be the impetus needed for construction of the much-touted Dala Bridge to commence.

Once the bridge, which will connect downtown Yangon to the western side of town, is constructed, the new industrial zone is expected to become a hotspot for investments. Now, plans are being made so that the Dala Bridge, also known as the Myanmar-Korea Friendship Bridge, will be operational by 2020-21, said U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon Region Chief Minister.

The Yangon region government and Myanmar Wooree Co on August 11 signed a Memorandum of Understanding to construct an industrial zone near where the planned bridge connects to Dala township.

There are also plans to construct industrial zones in Kawhmu and Kon Chan Kone, which are part of the 11 new industrial zones proposed to the Hluttaw for implementation in Yangon region. The zones are both also located at the west bank of Yangon and will benefit from the bride.

Although it is relatively near the Yangon downtown area, Dala remains undeveloped and accessible via ferry or boats crossing the Yangon River. In that light, the need for a bridge connecting the city to Dala is much in demand.

In fact, talk of building the Dala Bridge was first mooted six years ago. The project has yet to be implemented owing to disagreements about measurements between the Ministry of Construction and Myanma Port Authority (MPA), which is under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Based on a press conference in June, 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. That could disrupt trade activities if the port is unable to service the ships. It will also disturb port operators’ future plans for expansion in Yangon.

Construction of the bridge had already commenced with support from South Korea in 2012-13 under the previous government, but the plans were waylaid by disagreements.

The MPA is expecting 20,000-tonne vessels to ply the river and had initially negotiated for the bridge to be 54 meters high and for the distance between the supporting pillars of the bridge to be 350 meters apart in 2013.

In 2014, with help from the Korean Economic Development Cooperation, the bridge design was drafted however the height and width of the bridge differed from the MPA’s proposed measurements, leading to further delays in commencing construction.

But with South Korean investors now eager and interested to do business by developing industrial zones and making use of the water passage in Dala, Kawhmu, and Kon Chan Kone townships, plans to build the bridge might be sped up, said U Tun Yin, regional Hluttaw MP from Dala constituency.

Currently, the authorities are still finalising the measurements of the bridge and bidding invitations for the construction of the bridge are in progress, said U Khin Maung Swe, director general from the Bridge Department.

According to the Ministry of Construction, the Dala Bridge will be financed with a loan from Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund as well as funds from the Myanmar government. It will connect Yangon’s Phonegyi Road in Lanmadaw township and Dala’s Bo Min Yaung Road in the Kamakasit ward.

Source: MYANMAR TIMES

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