Historic bridge in Burma collapses
Mizzima News
April 21, 2008

Chiang Mai - The world's oldest and longest wooden bridge in Burma's second largest city of Mandalay collapsed last week, when it failed to support a large number of people, who came to the historic bridge during Burma's new year's festival of Thingyan.

The U Pein Bridge, made of pure teak wood, collapsed on April 15, the second day of the Burmese New Year Festival, when several people, both young and old walked along the bridge celebrating the water festival.

"The bridge collapsed because a lot of people were walking on it and besides, the bridge was very old. It broke in the middle. It is yet to be repaired," a resident of Mandalay told Mizzima.

The U Pein Bridge was built across the Taung Thaman Lake in southern Mandalay, and is about 1.2 kilometres in length.

"So far we are not aware of any casualties. And it has not been repaired yet, so the bridge cannot be used," the local added.

However, another local said, "a child reportedly tumbled along with the wood of the bridge into the water and the mother panicked. But nobody knows what happened to the child."

The bridge, the longest and oldest, built with pure teak wood without the use of any metal, is one of the best tourist attractions in Mandalay.

Since the bridge has not yet been repaired, it has become more difficult to cross the lake because it requires people to go around the lake to reach the other side, the local said.

The U Pein Bridge was built in the 18th century when the Innwa king transferred his palace to Amarapura and presented all his teak to the city mayor's secretary U Pein. U Pein then built the bridge with the teak and it came to be known as the 'U Pein Bridge'.

The U Pein Bridge, which is wonderfully built only with wood, was built with 1060 teak slats.