Bridge built with Japanese aid opens in Yangon, easing traffic jams

Nna/kyodo

Japan-funded Dawbon Bridge is now open in central Yangon, easing traffic congestion in Myanmar’s commercial capital.

The new bridge officially opened last Saturday over a branch of the Bago River in commemoration of Japan-Myanmar Friendship Day. Tokyo and Japanese contractors contributed ¥4.2 billion ($38 million) to the project.

The 253-meter bridge, also known as the New Thaketa Bridge, connects crowded Dawbon township with Mingalar Taungnyunt, a popular wholesale and retail area of Yangon. It is intended to promote access to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, which hosts a number of Japanese firms.

The bridge, 20.5 meters in width, has four lanes and a 2-meter-wide sidewalk on both sides. The existing 48-year-old Thaketa Bridge has only two lanes and a narrow space for pedestrians.

Dawbon Bridge will be able to carry more than 45,000 vehicles daily by 2021, compared to about 29,000 vehicles on the old bridge. The weight limit also rose from 10 tons to 25 tons per vehicle, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Tokyo’s development aid arm.

Tokyu Construction Co., Toyo Construction Co. and IHI Construction Service Co. built the new bridge.

Phyo Min Thein, chief minister of the Yangon region’s government, said at the opening ceremony that the new bridge will promote socioeconomic development in Yangon as well as the Thilawa zone jointly developed by the Myanmar and Japanese governments and private firms.

Masayuki Karasawa, chief representative of JICA’s office in Myanmar, said the agency is ready to continue to support Yangon’s basic infrastructure development.

Pyone Cho, a House of Representatives member for Dawbon township, said that the new bridge eases traffic congestion and creates a safe environment for pedestrians in his constituency.

Japan agreed with Myanmar in 2017 to provide a soft loan of ¥31 billion to finance another new bridge project over the Bago River to improve traffic flows to the Thilawa economic zone. Construction is scheduled to begin this year and the new bridge is slated for completion in 2021.