The Vietnam Railway Corporation has proposed that the transport ministry renovate 112-year-old Long Bien Bridge as soon as possible to ensure safety.

After being used for more than a century and bombed many times during war, the bridge was seriously deteriorated, Corporation Chairman Tran Ngoc Thanh said.

He proposed using nearly 300 billion VND (14.3 million USD) from the State budget to renovate the bridge, which is currently used for trains and light traffic like walking and cycling.

Many spans of the bridge were replaced by temporary girders and rusty bridge piles posed a high risks for trains and vehicles crossing the bridge, he said.

The bridge was upgraded twice during the 1995-2010 period with a total investment of 116 billion VND (5.5 million USD). However, over the past four years, the bridge has continued to deteriorate, according to Thanh.

The upgrade will be the first phase of the transport ministry's project to restore the bridge. It is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year with the aim of ensuring traffic safety until 2020. Traffic is still allowed while the bridge is being upgraded.

Under a long-term plan, a new steel railroad bridge will be built in the vicinity to replace Long Bien Bridge, which was built in 1902 by the French who then occupied Vietnam.

It was the first steel bridge built across the Red River in Hanoi and one of the four greatest bridges in the world at that time. The French first named it Paul Doumer Bridge, but Vietnam changed its name to Long Bien Bridge.

A profile of the bridge is being compiled so it can be recognised as a national heritage site.-VNA