Memorial Bridge to become major attraction
The government is floating an idea to make the 88-year-old Memorial Bridge, or Saphan Phut, into a new landmark for Bangkok to attract tourists from around the world.
The idea was unveiled on Tuesday by Pathom Chaloeywares, director-general of the Department of Rural Roads.
Mr Pathom said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha conveyed his vision to him to see the bridge become a new attraction.
The premier also ordered the department to find out how to reimplement the practice of using drawbridge designs. In the old days, Saphan Phut was able to lift its span to let large ships pass. The practice ceased several years ago.
Mr Pathom said the drawbridge feature and redevelopment of surrounding landscapes could make the area become popular with tourists.
Mr Pathom on Tuesday told the media that the department has major overhauls planned for Saphan Phut.
It already spent 7.49 million baht by commissioning the Thammasat University's Research and Consultancy Institute to conduct research and draft plans to restore the bridge.
The consultant project will take one year to complete, and the restoration is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
According to an initial survey by the department, the bridge's structure is strong, but the foundation pillars are an eye-sore because they have been left underwater for too long. When the water level recedes, the pillars are exposed, along with all of the dirt attached.
As for the landscape redevelopment plan, the initial survey revealed that the area under the bridge can be renovated while public parks, exercise space and a night market on the bridge will attract activity.
Built in 1929 during the reign of King Rama VII, to mark Bangkok's 150th anniversary, the bridge was the second bridge connecting Bangkok and Thon Buri province.
The bridge and landscape around its area are getting an image boost and being revamped for the better after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration opened the Chao Phraya Skypark nearby.