Transformation plan of 91-year-old bridge under debate

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The debate over the future of the historic Jihong Bridge in the city of Harbin rages on, reports

File photo of the Jihong Bridge. [Photo/]

File photo of the Jihong Bridge. [Photo/] 

Built in 1926, it has become one of the landmarks of the capital city of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

In 2013, it was rated as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level (MHCSPNL) by the State Council.

However, after 91 years of service, the structure faces heavy traffic pressure, with up to 8,000-10,000 vehicles passing over it per hour.

In 2009, an online survey asked the question "whether the Jihong Bridge should be dismantled," which saw 83 percent of the 9,632 voters responding 'No.'

Under the latest plan, according to a letter released from volunteers working to protect the historical construction, the Jihong Bridge will be adapted as part of a wider project involving Harbin Railway Station.

According to the plan, the bridge will remain basically as it is, but will see bullet trains pass underneath it.

"Actually, the transformation plan for the Jihong Bridge is the result of years of preparation. Dozens of such plans have been made, discussing how to protect the bridge in a better way", an official with Department of Culture of Heilongjiang Province said.

Some experts fear it will be hard to keep the bridge in its original condition, and the bridge will be destroyed as a result of the project.

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