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Hue starts construction of new walking street on iconic river using rare, valuable timber

Vietnam’s former capital Hue has started construction on a new walking street along the Perfume River in a bid to draw in more tourism.

Once completed, the new road would connect the existing Nguyen Dinh Chieu walking street with Ly Tu Trong Park. The road would be 4 meters (13 feet) wide and would run for 380 meters along the southern bank of the river, supported by concrete pillars planted into the riverbed. Its surface would be paneled with lim (Erythrophleum fordii) wood, a rare and valuable timber in Vietnam.

“We hope this would create a new focal point, a new look for the Perfume River’s bank,” Hue’s chairman Nguyen Van Thanh said.

Workers plant concrete pillars into the riverbed, which would serve as foundation for the new walking street. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

Workers plant concrete pillars into the riverbed, which would serve as foundation for the new walking street. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.

According to the city’s leaders, work on the road was originally scheduled to start in July 2016 and be completed in time for the 10th Hue Festival this April. It was however delayed until now and is currently expected to be finished in late 2018.

This new walking street is the first part of Hue’s project to improve the planning of the city along the Perfume River and boost tourism. The project is co-chaired by the city and the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and received a funding of $6 million from the South Korean agency.

The full project would cover a total area of nearly 840 hectares (2070 acres), and would see the renovation of an area of over 313 hectares of land, stretching 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) along both banks of the Perfume River.

In addition to the new walking street, the project would include a renovation of existing parks and the addition of an outdoor stage, a walking plaza, new parks, commercial buildings and sightseeing spots.

The project has however been criticized by many of Hue’s cultural experts who fear it would destroy the greenspace along the river. The choice of material for the walking street has also raised eyebrows as lim wood, while durable and water-resistant, is a rare and very expensive material due to overexploitation.


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