Bridging the gap: Yangon's boom falls short across river

  • Monday 23, September 2019 08:33 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: On her scruffy, downtrodden bank of the river, teashop-owner Khin works just a few hundred metres across the muddy water from Yangon and dreams of the riches promised by a new bridge linking to Myanmar's commercial heart.
"The quicker, the better," 58-year-old Khin Than Myint said of the construction of the $168 million bridge, from her shop in Dala township.

Spanning the Yangon River, the project is due to be completed in 2022, easing the commute for thousands crossing the waters by boat from rural, underdeveloped Dala.

Currently the sick sometimes cannot even reach hospital before it is too late, Khin Than Myint says.

But with the bridge, "people will be able just to walk to Yangon," she says smiling.

Residents of Dala have witnessed the changes over the river as foreign investors poured billions of dollars into Yangon.

Five-star hotels and gleaming shopping malls, brimming with luxury brands, now punctuate the skyline, competing for space with Shwedagon Pagoda's golden spire.

In Dala, goats wander between rice paddies and residents negotiate potholed roads on fume-belching motorbikes and tuk-tuks -- forbidden in downtown Yangon.

A regular ferry service and a fleet of small wooden boats have long been the only link between the two worlds.