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The bridge expands

(No.5, Vol.2 May 2012 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

In February, 1902, the bridge was opened by the Governor-General of Indochina, Paul Doumer, in the presence of the Emperor of Vietnam, Thanh Thai, the French minister in Peking, Paul Beau, and numerous dignitaries.
The bridge was used only for trains.
In 1922, work on enlargement of platforms that existed each side of the railway on the bridge was undertaken by Daydé and Pillé. This resulted in, on each side of the railway, a carriageway 220 cm wide and a footpath 100 cm wide. Access ramps were built, as well as places where the carriageway widened to allow passing. This meant faster vehicles were not obstructed by carts moved by hand.
On the 25th of April, 1924, a second opening of the bridge took place, in the presence of the Governor-General of Indochina, Marshal Henri Merlin. According to an Indochinese press report noted by the Indochina Economic Agency on 30 June, 1930, ‘Thousands of Annamites, laughing, singing, yelling, entered the public ways of the bridge, happy to be able to circulate freely, without having to pay a toll or ferry fare.’ A count taken on the bridge in September, 1924, showed an average daily passage of 230 automobiles, 142 carts moved by hand, 1,820 rickshaws, 7,350 pedestrians and 320 bicycles and mopeds.
Daydé, or Daydé & Pillé, was an enterprise of construction in metal. Founded by Henri Dayde, the company had several names: first, Dayde, then, briefly, Lebrun, Dayde & Pille (1880), then Dayde & Pille (1882), then, finally, again Dayde (1903). The company was joined with the Compagnie francaise d’entreprises, wich became CFEM, and was finally integrated into Eiffel.
Its workshops were in Creil.
* Mr Philippe Chaplain is the President of the French National Heritage League (Président de la Fédération Nationale du Patrimoine). He has written two books about Saigon and is working on another one about Hanoi. He created a website: www.hanoilavie.com to publish old photos of Hanoi and is working on the same thing for Saigon.

By Philippe Chaplain*
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