Every time I pass by this bridge, I am reminded that when I travelled from Yangon to Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State, more than 16 years ago, I spent the night in Mottama (and Mawlamyine where Thanlwin River crosses.) and the next day I arrived at Mawlamyine by a passenger boat ferrying passengers between Mottama and Mawlamyine from the port of Mottama.
The Thanlwin Bridge (Mawlamyine) was built and opened by the government on 5 February 2005. Mon State has developed since then and has been free of the time-consuming troubles of waiting for a ferry boat to cross the river.
Since Mon State is located at the intersection of land routes and waterways in the lower part of Myanmar, transportation is in good condition of the State. With two districts, 10 townships, 17 towns, 106 wards and 1,143 villages, the population in Mon State is over 2.3 million.
The Ministry of Construction and the Department of Highway Mon State are making efforts to meet the needs of the state and the people as per the geographical location. The Ministry has been developing and implementing short term and long-term projects for road expansion and upgrading of existing roads according to local needs for the sake of road safety and unity of states/regions including border areas.
Aiming to build a new, secure, modern and developed nation, the Ministry of Construction and Department of Highway are performing the primary duty of expanding, maintaining and upgrading roads in Mon State, helping to raise standards of living, economy, social and local development as well as promoting ethnic unity.
Department of Highway has built a total of 44 roads in Mon State, 37 of which are managed by the state and seven roads are managed by the Union Government, with a total of 731 miles, 5 furlongs and 561 feet long. In addition, a total of 2,530 bridges have been built in Mon State and the paved ratio of the whole state is 94 per cent.
During the five-year term from the 2016-2017 financial year to the 2020-2021FY, The Mon State Highway Department upgraded 96 miles and 6 furlongs of asphalt road into asphalt concrete (AC) road; 20 miles and 5 furlongs of earthern road into asphalt road; 8 miles of concrete road paving; 9 miles and 2 furlongs of earthern work; 192 miles and 3 furlongs of asphalt road expansion; 18 wooden bridges into the permanent concrete ones and 321 concrete bridges and box culverts.
In addition, 3 miles and 5 furlongs long Kyaikto Bypass and 13 concrete bridges have been built to solve the traffic conjunction on the Kyaikto-Kinmon Camp Road section. These roads are busy with over 5,000 and 10,000 vehicles coming for pilgrimage to Kyaikhtiyoe pagoda during the pilgrimage season. The 18-foot wide Kyaikto-Kinmon Road was upgraded to a 14.63-metre wide 4-lane AC road in the 2017-2018 FY.
In terms of bridges, Thanlwin Bridge (Chaungzon), connecting Mawlamyine and Chaungzon towns, was completed and opened on 9 May 2017. In addition, the construction of the Attaran Bridge (Sabai Gu) and 7 small concrete bridges which were opened on 3 November 2020 has benefited more than 200,000 people in 158 villages in the east and west sides of the Attaran River.
The Thanbyuzayat-Phayathonzu Road, an international link to Thailand, is 9 miles and 5 miles long from the Mon/Kayin border and has been upgraded from an earthern road to an asphalt road, with the project expected to be upgraded to four lanes. Of 15 miles of the 24-foot-wide Thanbyuzayat-Kyaikkhami road, 6 miles and 2 furlongs was upgraded to AC section at the end of 2020-2021FY and the rest 8 miles and 6 furlongs will be upgraded in the coming FY. Therefore, it will be more convenient for the pilgrims to visit Kyaikkhami Pagoda. Due to the upgrade work of Mawlamyine (Hintha roundabout)-Kyaikmaraw (9 miles and 7 furlongs) into a 24-foot-wide asphalt concrete road, it is more accessible for pilgrims to Kyaikmaraw Pagoda and the local people.
Moreover, Phayargyi-Sittoung-Kyaikto-Thaton-Mawlamyine Road built by Shwe Thanlwin Highway Company Ltd. by B.O.T system was expanded from 24-foot wide into 36 feet and 48 feet wide ones and upgraded to the 104 miles one furlong road into asphalt concrete road in 2006 and 2009. The company also upgraded 216 wooden bridges to concrete bridges.
The Mon State Highway Department also started the upgrading of the ASEAN Highway, Phayargyi-Mawlamyine-Dawei-Myeik-Bokpyin-Kawthoung ASEAN Highway (220 miles and one furlong long and 355 feetwide) into 24-foot-wide asphalt concrete road since the 2016-2017 FY and 199 miles and one furlong long and 335 feet wide was completed at the end of the 2020-2021 FY.
In summary, the roads and bridges in Ramanya Land, Mon State, are blooming like flowers with the efforts of Mon State Highway Department that upgrades, expand and construct roads and bridges as well as provides transportation in a timely manner in the event of natural disasters. – Chan Myae Maung/GNLM