The Vietnam Road Department has approved a project for the repair and upgrade of bridges on national highways across the country.

According to the department, there are about 163 bridges on 37 highways that need to be repaired, upgraded and widened to handle the volume of traffic.

The total investment capital required for the project from the road maintenance fund was estimated to be 770 billion VND (35.3 million USD), the department said.

In the 2015-2017 period, 78 bridges will be upgraded and reinforced at a cost of 393.8 billion VND (18 million USD) that will come from the central road maintenance fund.

The upgrade and repair of the remaining 85 bridges will be done when the transport ministry allocates funds for it.

Meanwhile, HCM City's transport department has suggested to the municipal authority that a new bridge should be built to replace the 90-year-old Nhi Thien Duong Bridge 1.

The condition of the old bridge has seriously deteriorated, and it cannot handle the volume of traffic.

The new bridge of the same design will cost an estimated 163 billion VND (roughly 7.4 million USD). Meanwhile, the old bridge will be upgraded and kept for show only, the department said.

The 1km-long Nhi Thien Duong Bridge 1 was built in 1925, across Doi Canal in District 8. The bridge links District 8 and the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces.

The bridge, built in European style with green pillars, is an iconic structure for the local people.-VNA