Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An dismantled for restoration
Quang Nam Province’s authorities held an international conference with 120 experts to discuss the preservation of the town’s iconic Japanese Bridge on August 16.
Quang Nam Vice Chairman Le Van Thanh said the Japanese Bridge had been recognized as a national heritage site in 1990 and a symbol of Hoi An.
As of now, they have carried out seven rounds of maintenance and repair but the bridge is deteriorating quickly. It receives 4,000 visitors either local or foreign visitors coming through a Vietnam tour packages a day and the river has also badly affected the piles. In addition, the bridge is located in the middle of Hoi An’s most vulnerable area to flooding.
According to a survey by Nguyen Xuan Toan and Nguyen Duy Thao from Danang University, the foundations can still support the bridge and visitors under good weather. However, many parts have cracks and decayed and may not be reliable under more extreme weather conditions.
Most attendants agreed to dismantle the bridge completely for renovation. However, Nguyen Su, party secretary of Hoi An, expressed worry that the bridge would no longer exist if anymore if they entirely remade the roof.
Vu Minh Giang, vice chairman of the National Culture Heritage Committee, said all parts of the bridge should be repaired at the same time. The authorities must take the whole bridge apart for reinforcement and restoring damaged parts. They shouldn’t wait and only repair the parts can be seen because the bridge may lose its original form with time.
Dang Van Bai, vice chairman of Vietnam National Heritage Council, also agreed to take the whole bridge apart to make the structure firmer. He also suggested to gather public opinion and reduce the daily number of tourists on bridge.
Quang Nam Vice Chairman Le Van Thanh approved of the plan to dismantle the whole bridge and said they would ask for help from leading experts and international consultants.