Rebuilding the rickety Vinh Ngoc bridge

Nha Trang Travel Blog

 › entry 107 of 126 › view all entries
Tunnel from signal station

It was a fine cool morning to go check progress on any reconstruction of the wooden Vinh Ngoc bridge that washed away in a storm last month. I wanted to see it from the other side of the river so headed out to the railroad bridge. Its catwalk for bicycle and motorbike crossing was too narrow to allow any distraction like glancing upstream to see if the nearby rickety bridge was back. And stopping was out of the question since other traffic was ahead of and behind me. Others at the opposite bank waited on us to make their own crossing. The railroad agent at the signal station paid me no mind as I continued toward the tunnel. I checked my pocket watch but it was far too early for the two mid-day trains. I'll save the thrill of catching a passing train inside the tunnel for a future visit.

The old Vinh Ngoc bridge

From the northern exit of the railroad tunnel it was less than half a mile upstream to the site of the Vinh Ngoc bridge. About a hundred feet of the old bridge extended onto the river. I couldn't tell if it had been rebuilt or was part of the original structure that remained intact. Bundles of wooden planks looked used, like they might have been salvaged from the old bridge before it washed away. Maybe once sections were destroyed, people salvaged what remained before losing it all. Replacement pilings scattered along the riverbank looked fresh-cut.

Just downstream a wooden boat hauled a group of passengers across the river. I waited in the shade of a coconut palm until they came back then gestured the other side for me and the bike. The father-son crew held up five fingers indicating 50,000 VN Dong (about U.

On the Cai River
S.$2.50). I knew that would probably be three times the normal rate but had no smaller denominations so agreed.  The lad loaded the bicycle and shoved off. The old man rope-started the engine and manned the rudder as we sputtered across the mighty Cai. After having explored the river for more than ten miles inland on both banks over the years, it was a real thrill to be on it. They dropped me at the familiar Cay Bang riverside restaurant. The crossing only took about five minutes but was one of those experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Construction of the bridge on that south bank was in progress and it already extended more than a hundred meters. Workers were attaching framework to new pilings while others nailed planks. It would be a fun project to follow in the coming weeks but my days in Nha Trang are soon coming to a close. I'll clatter across when I come back in February.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Tunnel from signal station
Tunnel from signal station
The old Vinh Ngoc bridge
The old Vinh Ngoc bridge
On the Cai River
On the Cai River
Watching TV at the signal station
Watching TV at the signal station
Railroad bridge from signal station
Railroad bridge from signal station
North exit
North exit
South exit
South exit
Broken bridge to Vinh Ngoc
Broken bridge to Vinh Ngoc
Salvaged lumber to rebuild
Salvaged lumber to rebuild
Cranking the engine
Cranking the engine
View from the boat
View from the boat
Approaching the Cay Bang restaurant
Approaching the Cay Bang restaurant
My river taxi
My river taxi
Rebuilding the south end of Vinh N…
Rebuilding the south end of Vinh …
Lumber for the bridge
Lumber for the bridge
Country coffee stop
Country coffee stop
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85