Hien Luong Bridge at DMZ Vietnam is over Ben Hai River at kilometer 735 of the Highway No.1 this bridge is the joining point of the Hien Luong commune in the North and Xuan Hoa commune in the South. It is 10 kilometers away from Cua Tung beach in the west.
Hien Luong Bridge – Photo by Vietnamdrive
The history of the Hien Luong Bridge
Formerly, the river is 100 meters wide and the ferry was the only means of transport. In 1928, the Vinh Linh authority mobilized people to build a bridge of 2 meters wide of the steel frame, which was strong enough for only pedestrians. In 1931, France rehabilitated the bridge but car or heavy means of transport still had to take the ferry. In 1943, the bridge was upgraded and light means of transport could cross it then.
In 1950, due to the military purposes, France built a concrete bridge of 162 meters long and 3.6 meters wide, which could stand the weight of 10 tons. This bridge existed for 2 years and was blown up because of our guerilla’s explosive.
In May 1952, France rebuilt a new bridge here. The bridge was 178 meters long, 7 spans and its skeleton was stolen. The surface was paved with pinewood and 4 meters wide. On rails of the two sides were high 1.2 meters, the bridge could stand 18 tons of weight. Nguyen Tuan, a writer, described this bridge as “the bridge was divided into two parts. Each part was 89 meters and painted at different color respectively. The northern part of the bridge was paved with 450 wood planks and the southern part with 444 wood planks”. This bridge existed for 15 years (1952-1967) and then collapsed by bombs of the US.
From 1972 to 1974, in order to serve the South battlefields, we built a temporary bridge 20 meters away from the old one to the west. In 1974, we built a new concrete bridge of 186 meters long, 9 meters wide. The two sides for pedestrian’s walk are 1.2 meters wide. This new bridge is the symbol of national reunification.
After the liberation, the bridge degraded seriously. In 1996, receiving the attention of the Central government, the Ministry of Transport allowed building a new bridge of 230 meters long and 11.5 meters wide. This bridge was built in the west of the old bridge by a modern method in Vietnam.
The old bridge, which was built in 1974, was maintained and planned for rehabilitation. The bridge, which existed in 1952-1967, is the center of tourism in DMZ and Hien Luong.
When the country was divided, the southern army painted a white line of 1cm wide in the middle of the bridge. It was not enough when the enemy painted the bridge with a different color. This meant the two sides were not the same country. At first, they painted the southern part of the bridge with a different color. This meant the two sides were not the same country. At first, they painted the southern part of the bridge with green color. We had to pain the same color in the other part. Then they used the brown color we had to repaint with the same one. As a result, the bridge’s paint color of Hien Luong to create the difference, we had to repaint with the same color. In the end, the enemy had to leave the bridge and did not paint a different color anymore. The bridge and did not paint a different color anymore. The bridge had the green color reflecting the color of hope and reunification.
In 13 years (1954-1967) the bridge was there but no one crossed the bridge to see their relatives or neighbors. There was only the police force that kept guard of the bridge. Every month, on the even date, a group of three persons of the Northern police went to the post of the Southern police to exchange work.
Hien Luong Bridge was the symbol of the national division. As being a bridge, it should have functioned as the connecting point between the two parts of the country. However, the bridge was divided and those who crossed this to the north were either killed or put into prison. In 1967, the US bombs made the bridge collapsed. This symbolized the goals of the US that are to divide the country into the North and the South. They did not want to leave the bridge, which connected the two parts of the country. (Quang Tri Management Board of relics and tourist sights)