Fireworks plan for new bridge sparks controversy in Hanoi

By Trinh Nguyen - T.Son, Thanh Nien News

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The 8.8-km Nhat Tan Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Hong (Red) River in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang The 8.8-km Nhat Tan Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Hong (Red) River in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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A proposal to hold regular fireworks displays over the newly-constructed Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi has sparked an open debate.
The plan, submitted to Hanoi municipal administration on Thursday, was created to make Nhat Tan Bridge a tourist destination, according to To Van Dong, director of the city’s culture and tourism department.
“We suggested setting off fireworks regularly, not just on major holidays,” Dong said.
The Nhat Tan Bridge spans 8.8 kilometers across the Hong (Red) River and opened early this month.
Nhat Tan, the longest cable-stayed bridge in Hanoi, shortened the trip from the city center to industrial parks in the north and from downtown Hanoi to Noi Bai International Airport.
Le Viet Ha, deputy editor-in-chief of Quy Hoach Do Thi (Urban Zoning) magazine, called Dong’s idea “reasonable.”
“A fireworks show over the Nhat Tan Bridge could be easier to see than a display over Hoan Kiem Lake, which is surrounded by tall buildings,” Ha said.
Hoan Kiem Lake is the most popular fireworks display location in Hanoi.
But Dinh Hong Hai, an expert with the Culture Research Institute, disagreed with Ha’s opinion.
“There aren’t public areas around the Nhat Tan Bridge yet; so a stampede may occur when people gather to get a view of the fireworks,” Hai said.
Hai also dismissed the idea of regular fireworks displays as wasteful.
Fireworks should only be set off to celebrate great occasions like Independence Day and the New Year, he said.
Veteran architect Hoang Dao Kinh echoed Hai’s viewpoint.
“I think it’s a waste to throw money into the air. Fireworks displays should only be held on important holidays,” said Kinh.
Kinh suggested another way to beautify the bridge: lighting it up at night.
Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Hanoi’s vice mayor, said the city will submit its fireworks plan to the Ministry of Transport, which oversees the bridge.
No word has been heard yet from the ministry as of press time.
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