Damaged Goktwin Bridge Fixed Just Days After Clashes

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Cars were allowed to cross the Goktwin Bridge, connecting Mandalay Region with Shan State, as of Tuesday, following damage to the structure in due to fighting between the Burma Army and the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups. 

Joint forces belonging to the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army set off explosives at the Goktwin Bridge on August 15. The bridge was one of five targets—others included tollgates, and the Defense Services Technological Academy in Pyin Oo Lwin. 

The strikes, the Northern Alliance members said, were counter-attacks in response to Burma Army offensives against them in northern Shan State and Rakhine State. 

“The chief minister of Shan State observed the damage to the Goktwin Bridge after the attacks. The Union government and special bridge construction teams cooperated to build the bridge again,” U Soe Soe Zaw, secretary of the Shan State government, told SHAN. 

He added that the bridge was 200 feet long and had a capacity of 36 tons. 

The Goktwin Bridge is located south of Nawng Khio town, and is part of the Mandalay-Muse highway that facilitates trade between Burma and China. Some 10,000 vehicles are known to have crossed the bridge daily.  

The speed at which the authorities have responded to the damage and repaired the bridge has been surprising to some locals, who have witnessed infrastructure, including homes, schools, and monasteries destroyed by the Burma Army repeatedly during decades of civil war. Much of what was lost has never been rebuilt. 

According to director of the President’s office U Zaw Htay, Northern Alliance forces also destroyed two small bridges connecting Hsenwi and Kunlong on August 17, and that the authorities in the area were also trying to fix these bridges. 

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