YANGON — The Myanmar Port Authority under the Ministry of Transport and Communications has denied reports that it objected to the construction of a bridge across the Yangon River linking Yangon and Dala.
Managing director U Ni Aung of the Myanmar Port Authority (MPA) during a press conference on Monday denied reports that the Korea-Myanmar friendship project has been delayed due to objections of the MPA.
“We have no reason to object to the project,” said the managing director. His department, however, is still negotiating with the Construction Ministry over the design of the bridge, especially the bridge clearance and the distance between the two piers.
According to the original design formulated by the Ministry of Construction in 2014, the clearance would be 49 meters and the distance between the two piers would be 251 meters.
The MPA has suggested the clearance be extended to 54 meters and the two piers be moved closer to the shore to create more space for ships to pass under the bridge.
“We have terminals along the river such as Asia World Port, Myanmar Industrial Port and others. There are quay cranes and you can’t put them horizontally on the ship; you can only put them vertically. That’s why we asked that the clearance be 54 meters,” said U Ni Aung.
The Construction Ministry has replied that the design change may cost millions of dollars more, and that it is technically impossible to move the piers to the shore.
“We have agreed to keep the clearance at 49 meters,” said U Ni Aung, “but ports will have to buy necessary cranes before the bridge project starts” so that they can carry them easily to their destination.
In addition, the close distance between the two piers could result in silting over time and make navigation difficult for ships, said U Ni Aung.
The bridge will be funded by a US$137.8 million loan from South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, and the Myanmar government will invest an additional US$30.341 million, according to the Construction Ministry.
The project was presented under U Thein Sein’s government but because of local objections and problems with compensation, it had been put off until now. So far, about 300 trillion kyats has been given to local residents as compensation, said the Construction Ministry.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.