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Researchers Find Cracks on Major Mekong Delta Bridge Before Construction Finishes

The cause of numerous cracks in two steel support girders of the Vam Cong Bridge, which will connect Dong Thap Province and Can Tho City, were recently discovered.

Earlier this week Le Kim Thanh, head of the Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, explained that the cause of the mysterious cracks had been discovered by a group of researchers from Vietnam, South Korea and the UK. The fractures are the result of stress concentration, residual stress and welding quality. With the problem identified, the team can move onto fixing them.

Photo via VietnamNet.

Construction began in 2013 but had to be halted last year when the cracks were discovered. Some 60% of the affected girders will have to be replaced. Than says they hope to have the work completed by the end of the year, adding "the process may be affected by the weather as the region has entered the rainy season, but we will try our best."

The 2.97-kilometer-long and 24.5-meter-wide bridge is an important infrastructure project for the region as it will dramatically improve connectedness of Mekong provinces. Its US$271 million cost is funded by official development assistance (ODA) from the South Korean government and money from Vietnam’s national budget. Actual construction is being performed by two South Korean entities: the Joint Venture of Dasan–Kunhwa–Pyunghwa and the Joint Venture of GS Engineering & Construction Corp and Hanshin.  

The bridge is one of many infrastructure projects currently in development in the region. Forty-six bridges, roads and channel crossings have been opened and more are awaiting completion. The crucial Saigon to Can Tho highway, however, remains mired in debate and the water route connecting Saigon to the Mekong Delta is in dire need of improvements to increase traffic flow and capacity. 

[Top photo via Tuoi Tre]

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