Reston, Va. — Inspired by the Vietnamese symbol representing power and nobility, the Dragon Bridge — a bright gold bridge shaped like a dragon, complete with spikes, tail and a head that is illuminated at night by 15,000 LED lights and breathes fire and water on the weekends — provides a critical link between Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s principal port cities, and the region’s developing eastern sectors. In recognition of this achievement, the Dragon Bridge was honored with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2016 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.  The announcement was made this evening at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards gala at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va. 

Constructed by Louis Berger and Ammann & Whitney, the 666-meter, parkway-style bridge was designed with an at-grade approach and low deck that allows cross-river traffic to flow seamlessly without disrupting the scenic views of the river and city.  The creative dragon arch system is comprised of five steel and concrete tubes carried through spider frames and suspenders placed at 8-meter intervals. The bridge’s main spans are hybrid steel box girders.

“The Dragon Bridge epitomizes seamless design and practicality all in a unique, iconic structure that resonates with residents and visitors alike, said Mark W. Woodson, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.  “Not only does the bridge silhouette enhance the beauty of the Han River, but it also serves as a major transportation link in Da Nang and has significantly raised the international profile of this bustling region of Vietnam.”    

Thanks to the dedication of hundreds of laborers who worked through Tet, Vietnam’s most important holiday, and a project team with acumen in managing large infrastructure projects, the Dragon Bridge was completed on schedule and within budget.  The $86 million bridge opened to great fanfare March 29, 2013, marking the 38th anniversary of the liberation of Da Nang.     

Established in 1960, the OCEA program recognizes projects from around the world for their contribution to the well-being of people and communities, their resourcefulness in planning and design challenges, and their innovative use of materials and techniques.     

Recent OCEA winners include:

  • Halley VI Antarctic Research Station
  • New Orleans Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier
  • Alvarado Water Treatment Plant Ozone Upgrade and Expansion Project, San Diego, Calif.
  • Sutong Bridge, Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, China
  • Woodrow Wilson Bridge outside Washington, D.C.