The First Nawarat Bridge

The first Nawarat Bridge

This blog is about the first Nawarat Bridge. The current Nawarat Bridge is the third bridge that was constructed at this location. The bridge connects the east and the west banks of the Ping River and is the most important bridge in Chiang Mai. Charoenmuang and Thapae roads are the main arteries of Chiang Mai. The Nawarat Bridge connects them.

The first Nawarat Bridge was built from teak. It was designed by a certain Count Roberty, an Italian engineer. I have not been able to find any information about this person. Over the years this bridge was damaged by fire and later fell victim to floating teak logs. Construction of the second Nawarat Bridge started in 1921 and was completed in 1923. This bridge would last until 1965. The second Nawarat Bridge was a steel bridge.

First Nawarat Bridge

Ministry of Civil Engineering Chief Official Gumpaeng Pech-Akarayotin on an inspection tour through Chiang Mai during 1906-1907. Source unknown.

A plaque informs (in translation) about the first Nawarat Bridge: “The construction of this bridge started in 1906 and was completed in 1910. Borneo Co, Ltd contributed 600 teak logs for its construction.” The bridge was a so-called Bowstring Bridge aka tied-arch bridge.  This is an arch bridge in which the outward-directed horizontal forces of the arch are borne as tension by a chord tying the arch ends, rather than by the ground or the bridge foundations.

There are very few pictures of this bridge.

First Nawarat Bridge

Missionary crossing the bridge. Date and source unknown.

Lovely picture of boats on the Ping River and the first Nawarat Bridge.

The Ping River and the Nawarat Bridge. Date and source unknown.


First Nawarat Bridge

By far the best picture I found of the Nawarat Bridge. Date would be 1920, just before this bridge was demolished to make way for the steel truss Nawarat Bridge. The first Christian church is in the back ground. Picture by Chiang Mai based photographer Tanaka.

Updated: October 18, 2018

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