NAYPYITAW — The Construction Ministry has been inspecting all suspension bridges across the country since the collapse of a bridge in Irrawaddy Region last month and will inform the public whether they are safe by the end of July, Deputy Construction Minister U Kyaw Lin said on Tuesday.
A 22-year-old suspension bridge in Irrawaddy’s Myaungmya Township collapsed on April 1, killing the driver and passenger of a truck passing over it at the time. In the days following, the Construction Ministry blamed the collapse on an outdated design that made it difficult to inspect the bridge’s steel suspension cables, which had rusted and eventually snapped.
At a press conference in Naypyitaw, U Kyaw Lin said two of Myanmar’s 29 suspension bridges have been deemed dangerous already: the Maezali bridge in Magwe Region and the Zar Thapyin bridge in Karen State.
The Construction Ministry has been inspecting the suspension bridges with the assistance of 22 Chinese technicians.
“We are inspecting all 29 bridges, and Chinese technicians have pointed out the worst two of them. We have declared them dangerous,” the deputy minister said, adding that the ministry would replace them as soon as possible.
The Construction Ministry inspects suspension bridges twice a year, but its technicians can only inspect their outer features. The deputy minister said it has had to turn to the Chinese technicians for help inspecting the bridges’ internal features using X-rays.
In April, the ministry said the cables that rusted and snapped inside the bridge that collapsed were hidden from view because they had been laid in concrete.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.