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New bridge provides safe passage to school

Update: May, 06/2014 - 08:45
A suspension bridge that opened yesterday in Sam Lang Village, Dien Bien Province, makes it easier and safer for children to get to school. — VNS Photo courtersy of VnExpress online newspaper

DIEN BIEN (VNS) — A suspension bridge was opened to the public yesterday in Sam Lang village in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.

Transport minister Dinh La Thang decided to build the bridge one month ago, after Tuoi Tre online newspaper posted a video clip showing local children using plastic bags to cross Nam Po Stream.

Upon reaching the 80m-wide stream, each child in turn climbs into a large plastic bag, then has the top of the bag pulled shut over his or her head. A strong village man then pulls the bag across the stream, a process repeated until everyone has made it to the other side.

During flood season, local people were forced to choose this method to cross the stream as the rapid current made it difficult for boats to operate and the existing bridge, made of thick planks tied to low stone pylons, was also covered by water.

Sam Lang village, 180km from Dien Bien City, is home to 100 households. The village is divided by many streams, including Nam Po Stream.

Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho said the VND3.5 billion (US$167,000) bridge would help local people cross the river more easily and safely. Similar bridges would be built elsewhere in the province, he said.

The whole province has 25 suspension bridges with "reduced capacity", 17 identified as "dangerous" and 22 identified as being "extremely dangerous".

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given the nod to the transport ministry to build 186 bridges in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas in 28 northern, central and Central Highlands localities. — VNS

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