The vaults under the elevated train track along Phung Hung street which are sealed for decades will be reopened and developed into a cultural space to promote the products of craft villages, traditional cuisine, and cultural and tourist products of the capital.
|A worker examines a vault in Phung Hung street, Hanoi. Photo: Lai Tan (Kinh te & Do thi)
The Hanoi Old Quarter’s Management Board is opening five vaults that connect Hang Cot street with Hang Giay street.
The renovation is under a project carried out to take advantage of spaces inside the 131 vaults under the train track, of which 127 are now sealed with cement.
The 1.2km-long viaduct starts from the Phung Hung-Tran Phu crossroads to the Long Bien train station and runs through Phung Hung and Gam Cau streets.
The vaults, built in 1900 and finished in 1902, are 3.5m to 4.5m high and cover an area of about 16sq.m each.
The vaults were sealed with cement in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century to strengthen the viaduct for trains with heavier load, and keep beggars and drug addicts away from the neighborhood.
Locals are now using the space in front of the vaults as a parking lot or to sell stuffs.
The Hanoi Old Quarter’s Management Board said that the pilot commercialization of the first five arch spaces, if successful, would be extended to the rest of the arches.
During the execution of the project, speed of trains running through the site will be reduced to 1.5 kilometers per hour in the area. The opening of each arch will last from 25 to 35 days, depending on the structure of the project, under the supervision of Vietnamese railway professionals.
In 2017, the city’s authorities planned to open and transform 127 sealed vaults into coffee shops, art spaces, bookshops and to host art and cultural activities.
In 2018, Vietnamese and Korean artists worked together to turn a part of Phung Hung viaduct into a mural street that featured paintings depicting the old times of Hanoi.