The Vietnam Urban Planning Association has proposed conversion of the century-old Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi into a contemporary art museum.
If the proposal is accepted, the bridge would no longer be used for rail traffic, and a new bridge would be built to replace it.
Long Bien would be raised by around 3 m to provide more clearance for vessels passing on the Red River below and cannons would be installed on its spans to celebrate the country’s martial history.
Speaking at a seminar on restoration of the bridge held in the capital last Friday, Nguyen Nga, a former town planner in the French capital Paris, said: “A wide-open space would be created to exhibit ancient steam locomotives and carriages that would be turned into cafes and restaurants. The bridge’s spans would be covered with glass.”
The rail tracks would provide space for cultural activities while streets on both sides of the bridge would become four-kilometre-long, green walking streets.
A highlight would be the conversion of the river’s alluvial soil floodplain area into a park featuring natural and artificial botanical gardens and resorts.
A contemporary art museum in the shape of a lotus, voted as Vietnam’s national flower, would be built on an area of 2.5 hectares on the right bank.
The work was expected to be finished by 2020 at a cost of VND4.68 trillion (USD227 million).
“The project aims to improve the habitat of local residents and increase green space in the capital,” she added.
The 2.5-km cantilever bridge was built in 1903 by French architects Daydé & Pillé when it was one of the longest in Asia.