France has provided a grant of over EUR700,000 (US$763,595) to the Hanoi People’s Committee for a feasibility study on the renovation of the iconic Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, according to the French Embassy in Vietnam.
The non-refundable grant has been handed over to the Hanoi People’s Committee.
The study, conducted by the French engineering firm Artelia and funded by the General Directorate of Treasury, aims to minimize the impact of the renovation on road and rail traffic.
The study will propose a renovation plan compatible with the future use of Long Bien Bridge, which is currently under discussion among various departments of the Hanoi Municipality. Despite its deteriorated condition in recent years, the French side hopes that the renovation work can begin as soon as the study’s conclusions are available.
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which is closely involved in the project, is willing to discuss financing for the subsequent works with the Hanoi authorities.
French Ambassador to Vietnam Olivier Brochet commented on the funding of the feasibility study, expressing hopes that the study and the subsequent renovation work will not only secure the bridge but also transform it into a facility that contributes to the radiance of the city.
Long Bien Bridge is considered an iconic structure and an integral part of Hanoi’s heritage and urban landscape. It serves as a powerful symbol of the unique bond between France and Vietnam.
The former “Paul-Doumer” bridge, designed in the Eiffel style, was built between 1898 and 1903 and suffered damage during the American bombing in 1967. It was subsequently restored by the Vietnamese authorities to ensure the continuity of traffic between Hanoi and Haiphong.
In 2004, French President Jacques Chirac announced France’s financing for the rehabilitation of the Long Bien Bridge during his visit to Vietnam. Since then, France has funded several studies and expert missions.
According to Eric Gratton, General Director of Artelia Vietnam, Long Bien Bridge is an essential and exceptional work of art. The company, which has been present in Vietnam for almost 20 years, will find the best renovation solutions for the benefit of Hanoi’s citizens and sustainable mobility.
Today, the iconic French-built bridge remains a landmark of the capital. It is also a popular spot for watching the sunrise or sunset, as well as for wedding and photoshoots.
The Long Bien Bridge was named after Paul Doumer, the French Governor General of Indochina. It was built in 1903 and is the first steel bridge across the Red River, connecting Hanoi’s Old Quarter with the suburban district of Long Bien.
The bridge is a testament to French technological innovation at the time. Over 3,000 Vietnamese workers, under the guidance of French experts, took on the challenge of building the bridge, using a significant amount of stone and metals.
The Long Bien Bridge consists of 19 spans resting on 20 piers 40 meters high. It has a single-track railway bridge in the middle, with two side roads for motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. The direction on Long Bien Bridge is left-hand traffic, and cars are prohibited.
During the Vietnam War, the bridge suffered extensive damage from the US bombing but was rebuilt in 1973. It has a rich history of more than 100 years and was once the second-longest bridge in the world.