Vietnam highlanders have new bridge to stop crossing stream in bags

Thanh Nien News

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A man crosses a makeshift wooden bridge in Dien Bien Province that was replaced on May 5 by the steel bridge above him. Locals once were pulled across the gorge in sacks during the rainy season. PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE

A suspension bridge came into use on Monday in the remote northern mountain village where children and teachers used to step into plastic bags to be pulled across a rough stream every rainy season.
The steel bridge bears the name of Sam Lang village in Dien Bien Province. The structure is 1.5 meters wide and is expected to last for another 25 years, Tuoi Tre reported.
The bridge spans more than 100 meters above the Nam Po stream, which becomes roughly flooded every monsoon season between May and October.
Transport Ministry officials began work on the bridge after a video from a local teacher was posted on YouTube last March, showing her colleagues and students being tied up in plastic bags and pulled across the violent waters last September.
Nearly 1,000 people from ethnic groups H’Mong, Thai and Dao have been relying on a makeshift wooden bridge to cross the stream during the dry season.
But they remove the bridge every flood season to protect it from being swept away.
Transport  Vice Minister Le Dinh Tho said they built the bridge in record time so that it would be ready for use before the start of the flood season.

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