Ananda Oak Kyaung



Gokteik Bridge

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The linchpin of the railroad line connecting Mandalay and Lashio is the dizzying Gokteik Bridge, a gravity-defying construction that the travel writer Paul Theroux aptly described as “a monster of silver geometry in all the ragged rock and jungle.” Commissioned at the end of the 19th century, it spans a precipitous gorge between two sheer limestone bluffs, above a carpet of dense forest. The challenge of spanning this wild terrain fell to the Pennsylvania and Maryland Bridge Company, which shipped all of the steel used in the construction from New York, transporting it to the site on a specially constructed trackway. Meauring 2,260 ft (689 m) across and 335 ft (102 m) in height, the bridge is supported by 15 latticework trestles and was the largest structure of its kind in the world when it was com pleted. Catching a first glimpse of the giant, with its silvery steel girders soaring above the trees and red­tinged cliffs, is an experience few passengers on the rattling ride to Lashio forget.

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