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February 19, 2015

River Dividing Urban Thailand gets 15th bridge built with Japanese Assistance
The span is part of a 40-year-plus collaboration to upgrade transport convenience

photoPanoramic view of the Chao Phraya River Crossing Bridge at Nonthaburi 1 Road
photoMain tower of the bridge designed in the image of a crown and lotus flower

The 15th bridge built through Japanese ODA loans across the Chao Phraya River in Thailand opened Dec. 26.

Located in Nonthaburi Province in the north of the Bangkok metropolitan area, the Chao Phraya River Crossing Bridge at Nonthaburi 1 Road is the first extradosed bridge in Thailand, and it is expected to reduce congestion on neighboring bridges by 30 percent, according to the Department of Rural Roads of the Thai Ministry of Transport.

The Chao Phraya River passes through Bangkok and ends at the Gulf of Thailand. The building of bridges across the river has improved the convenience of transportation between the two banks immensely.

The history of bridges on the Chao Phraya River and Japan's official development assistance is long. It began more than 40 years ago with the start of work on the Phra Pin Klao Bridge in 1971 through a Japanese ODA loan. Japan has now assisted with 15 out of a total of 18 bridges crossing the Chao Phraya River in the Greater Bangkok Region (from north in Pathumthani to south in Samutprakarn provinces).

At the DRR (Department of Rural Roads Bridge) Museum at the Chao Phraya River Crossing Bridge at Nonthaburi 1 Road, Nonthaburi Province, there currently is an easy-to-understand exhibition on the 15 bridges called “Thailand-Japan Cooperation in Bridge Construction” on display.

In recent years congestion of secondary roads and bridges in Nonthaburi Province had become a problem with an increased population, and in particular, because travel from the western bank to the eastern bank was limited to the Phra Nang Khlao Bridge and the Rama V Bridge, it was not unusual for vehicles to be immobile during peak commuting hours in the morning and evening. In response to such problems, the Thai Ministry of Transport, began preparing to build a new bridge in Nothaburi Province in 2005, and construction began in May 2012.

The Chao Phraya River Crossing Bridge at Nonthaburi 1 Road is one of the flagship cooperation projects between Thailand and Japan. During the project implementation with experts from Japan, Thailand benefited from experience and technology transfer for the construction of extradosed prestressed concrete bridges, which is a first for Thailand. In addition, the project spread knowledge on international standards of contract management, high standard workplace policy, and strict enforcement of environmental impact monitoring and control.

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