Vietnam metro gets new bridge

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The Saigon 2 Bridge opened to traffic Tuesday, easing pressure on the 52-year-old Saigon Bridge, which was constantly overloaded.

The VND1.5 trillion (US$71 million) bridge, built next to the old bridge, is nearly a kilometer long and can withstand earthquakes of magnitude 7.

It has four lanes for automobiles and one for motorbikes, and vehicles use it to go from Binh Thanh to District 2 while the old one is used by vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.

Built by the HCMC Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company and HCMC Finance and Investment Company, it bridge was completed after one and a half years of construction, three months earlier than expected.

Vu Kien Thiet, director of the Traffic Infrastructure Management Unit No. 2, said: "The old bridge has only two car lanes and a motorbike lane on each side. There were severe traffic jams whenever there was an accident."

Authorities have approved a VND12 billion plan to repair the old bridge.

Saigon Bridge, known as Tan Cang (Newport) Bridge before 1975, was completed in 1961 and underwent three major upgrades in 1995, 1996, and 2000.

It used to be the sole gateway to the city for vehicles from the northern and central regions, and played an important role during the Tet Offensive in 1968 and the fall of the US-backed Saigon regime in 1975.

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