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Century-old bridge to reopen soon
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09:05, February 26, 2009

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Xiang Dong, 78, was just one of several hundred people who watched the reassembly of the 102-year-old Waibaidu Bridge yesterday.

He said he had waited since 4 am in Huangpu Park to see "Grandma's Bridge" return to its rightful place.

"It is part of my life. I used to come here a lot when I was a kid, and later I would walk past it most days on my way to work. Since I retired I often walk around here," Xiang said.

At 9:50 am, a barge carrying the northern part of the steel bridge left a shipyard at Pudong's Minsheng Road. Thirty minutes later a crowd watched it arrive on site, as a band played Going Home.

At noon, the section was moved into place and was finally secured at 5.20 pm.

The southern section is due to be put in place today.

Once the two pieces have been joined, work will start on the deck, pavements and cables. It will open to traffic in April.

"The bridge should last for another 50 years," project manager Yue Guiping said.

Built in 1907, Waibaidu Bridge, which spans Suzhou Creak, was the first steel truss bridge to be built in China, and is the only surviving example of a camelback truss bridge in the country. Its predecessor was a wooden float bridge built in 1873.

The bridge has featured in many movies.

After 101 years of service, the bridge was dismantled in March and transported to a shipyard for a complete overhaul.

The project required 205 tons of steel and more than 63,000 rivets.

Some of the original components will go on display at museums in Shanghai.

Liu Yanbin, a member of the project team, said the bridge still looks old, but will be stronger.

"The iron handrails and the cement pavements have will be replaced with wooden ones, and the triangular truss will be replaced with an arc, as it was in 1907," he said.

Also among the crowds to greet the bridge yesterday was 58-year-old Jiang Mingxia who said she wanted to witness the exciting moment even though she is almost blind.

"I met an old neighbor on the way, so we came together," she said.

"I planned this a long time ago."

Source: China Daily

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