The friendship bridge will be sited at Dien Bien Phu Street – a major arterial route in the city of 10 million people. It will be constructed of New Zealand Glulam; the wood-based product has been chosen for its strength, durability and versatility. “It’s fitting that New Zealand radiata pine wood has been chosen to represent the links between our two nations,” said economic development minister Steven Joyce. “It’s sustainable, economic and strong.”

The New Zealand and Vietnam partners involved in the design, engineering, timber supply and treatment, construction and installation of the bridge are: Sequal Lumber, Timbalink, PTL Structural Timber Consultants, Vietnam-New Zealand and Tran Duc Homes.

The friendship bridge project arose from last year’s celebrations of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “It was agreed by representatives of both New Zealand and Viet Nam that we build a structure that represents the strength of the relationship between our two countries,” said Joyce.

Vietnam is New Zealand’s fastest growing export market in Southeast Asia, with merchandise exports doubling since 2007.

The bridge has received approval from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transportation with support from the chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. The project is due to start later this year and open in the middle of next year. The announcement of the project was part of a series of activities celebrating the first direct Air New Zealand flight between Vietnam and Auckland.