The Can Tho Bridge is not just an attraction in Can Tho but the main way in and out of this city, that is the capital of the Mekong Delta. At 9,000 feet in total length it is in the top thirty of longest Cable stayed bridges in the world. The central span is 1804 feet in length. It straddles The Bassac River one of the many distributaries of the Mekong River. At it‚Äôs highest point it is 128 feet above the water allow huge ships to pass under it.
The Can Tho Bridge carries four lanes of vehicle traffic and has an additional two lanes for pedestrians. It finally opened on April 24th 2010, after what can only be described as a tragic construction process. The construction was launched by the then Prime Minister of Vietnam Phan Van Khai in September 2005. He announced that the bridge would be open by late 2008. However on the morning of September 26 2007, a one hundred feet long section of the approach ramp, collapsed killing many workers. One source put the figure was put at 52 dead and 140 injured. Other sources though have put the number of those killed at as high as 64. It remains the worst catastrophe in the history of Vietnamese construction.
Immediately after the accident, many people rushed to the scene to offer assistance. Surfing construction workers toiled next to students and other local people digging at times with their bare hands. Though that proved too dangerous , because of the threat of more collapses, and cranes moved in to lift debris. Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City sent rescue teams and international support came from The American Chamber of Commerce. The construction companies involved, Taisei and Kajima Construction were banned for one year from all operations in Vietnam.
The Can Tho Bridge is much loved and respected by the local people and the sight of it from the riverfront in the town is impressive, especially at night.