Nguyen Van Troi Bridge: “Cinderella” of Da Nang City – is what sculptor Pham Van Hang said about the Nguyen Van Troi Bridge, which is almost half a century old and is about to finish its traffic mission for Da Nang people and will be kept as a memento of the city.

“The witness of history”

Mr. Hang is a son of Da Nang, who grew up and travelled all around the country. Each time he comes back to his hometown, he always goes to this old bridge, chooses a spot, lights a cigarette and then watches the modern construction springing up… To him, nothing can replace the spans, the yellow steel beams, because they contain many memories of this city along side the Han River.

“Cinderella is a cloddish, clumsy girl yet she is also lovely and charming that makes us can’t stop loving her” – Sculptor Pham Van Hang make a comparison about the oldest bridge that spanning across Han River. It has accidentally become a witness of the city overtime. Nguyen Van Troi Bridge, which was used to be the highest point in the river, has become a small bridge in the middle of more modern bridges and high-rise buildings nowadays.

The bridge has been a witness through many historical events

Mr. Le Duy Anh, a researcher about Da Nang, said that there’s no debate about the word “witness” because the bridge has a deeper root than the 1965 landmark. Which is the time many Da Nang people believed that it was the first time there was a bridge that crossing Han River. During the French domination, there was a timber bridge in this position called De Lattre  Tassigny – a French general. The timber bridge then was replaced with a steel built-up bridge was built by an American company RMK and named Trinh Minh The Bridge in 1965. 10 years later, when Da Nang was liberated, the bridge was renamed to Nguyen Van Troi – the hero of Quang Nam region – and had gone into the memories of Da Nang people until this day.

Da Nang vowed to keep the old bridge

Nguyen Van Troi Bridge was built in 1960s by RKM – an American contractor, consist of 14 Poni steel spans with a total length of 513.8m. The bridge size was 10.5m, including the 8.5 part for vehicles and the rest with no margin for pedestrians. This is the first road bridge crossing Han River, was built to transport war materials from Tien Sa Port in inner Da Nang City that help the American military to operate the ferocious war machine in the Central region of Vietnam.

The old bridge which was made of timber

In 1978, the bridge’s timber deck was removed and replaced by reinforced concrete. In 1996, the deck was replaced again with steel panels for weight reduction (due to its weak foundation). Along with Long Ho Bridge that lead from Cam Ranh City to Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Province (also built by RMK in the 1960s), Nguyen Van Troi Bridge is one of the rare bridge in Vietnam with arch structure made of Poni steel frame.

In the initial plan, after the new Tran Thi Ly Bridge finish building, Nguyen Van Troi Bridge will be dismantled. However, in a construction inspection, Mr. Nguyen Ba Thanh, the Secretary of City Party Committee at that time had directed the Department of Transportation to figure out a way to keep this old bridge and turn it a pedestrian one which will create another destination for local people as well as tourist to contemplate the city.

We have to go through the difficult and miserable beginning states in order to love and appreciate the hard-working achievements. According to Sculptor Pham Van Hang, by keeping the Nguyen Van Troi Bridge, we also keep the lovely “Cinderella” of Han River – a history’s witness that contains many primitive memories of Da Nang people about a time that the city was divided by the river… as well as embellishing the city’s beauty in the relentless development of Da Nang. Da Nang is known as a dynamic city which always seeks for break through ways to develop and building new constructions with the vision of sustainable development but also manages to keep the traditional and historical values for future generations.

Source & Photos: Internet