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Hanoi mulls over recovery of 127 archways under iconic elevated railway

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 20:59 GMT+7

A company has proposed a project to restore 127 domes under an iconic elevated railway in Hanoi, which were previously sealed for environmental pollution and social order reasons.

Duong Duc Tuan, chairman of the People’s Committee in Hoan Kiem District, stated the administration is reviewing a proposal of a local firm seeking to reopen 127 archways under the railway along the district’s Gam Cau Street.

The plan will cost an estimated VND100 billion (US$4.39 million), Tuan added.

As the structure is part of the country’s railway system and also an urban heritage site, the construction requires careful evaluation and feedback from the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The implementation of the scheme must not affect the overall safety of the architecture and railway operations.

“If all goes well as scheduled, the project is expected to be initiated this year,” the chairman remarked.

The elevated railway was built of stone between 1900 and 1902, spanning about 1.2 kilometers starting from Phung Hung Street, running above Gam Cau Street, and ending at Long Bien Station.

A total of 131 arches were created under the structure, each of which was 3.5 to 4.5 meters high.

As the areas under the archways previously became hotspots for environmental pollution and social disorder, local authorities decided to seal off the archways in the 1980s.

Only four out of 131 arches were kept to allow people to travel through.

According to the revival plan, the 127 arches will be reopened and provide space for book streets, coffee shops, and artistic activities.

Nguyen Manh Cuong, 69, who has worked as a barber under one of the archways for the past four decades, expressed his support for the project, hoping that he would still be able to continue his job upon the project’s completion.

Meanwhile, Pham Duc Hung, a shoe vendor living next to the railway, is concerned that his business will be influenced and his family will be relocated when the construction starts.

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