The Chansom Memorial Foot Bridge
A bridge connecting the Wat Ket neighborhood with Kad Luang
After the collapse of the Khua Kula, the first bridge in Chiang Mai across the Ping River, in 1932 there had been no permanent bridge connecting the Wat Ket neighborhood with Kad Luang. There are only a few pictures of a bamboo bridge in this location until the construction of the Chansom Memorial Bridge in 1965. This bamboo bridge was not as strong as the Khua Kula and had to be repaired every year. It also left room for boats to pass. Only the picture of Boonserm Satrabhaya shows this bridge sometimes was connected the Kad Luang area to the Wat Ket area.
Wat Ket Karaam is visible in all three pictures. According to Praneet Bain, daughter of Jack Bain, founder of the Wat Ket Museum, there was often no bridge at all, and people were ferried across the river by bamboo raft…..
The history of the Chansom Memorial Footbridge
A successful businessman
The construction of the bridge in 1965
After his wife Chansom passed away Motiram Korana who was also known as Montri Koslaphirom, his Thai name, decided to construct a footbridge on the location of the old Khua Kula, connecting the Wat Ket neighborhood with Kad Luang. I understood he provided most of the money but there were other people, who donated to the construction of the bridge, as well. When the bridge was finished he named it the Chansom Memorial Bridge, in Thai: สะพานจันทร์สมอนุสรฌ์
Anusorn (อนุสรณ์) means memorial in Thai. The bridge became also known as Khua Khaek. “Khua” means bridge in Northern Thai and “Khaek” means Pakistani or Indian, referring to the country where Montri came from.
The pictures of Boonserm Satrabhaya
These black and white pictures were taken by Boonserm Satrabhaya in 1965 during the merit-making ceremony on the Ton Lam Yai market bank before the construction of the bridge. In two of the pictures, a group of men wearing turbans, most likely Motiram and his family members and/or friends. You can find the pictures of Boonserm Satrabhaya on the website of the Library of Chiang Mai University.
Flood damages the bridge
In September 2011 the Ping River broke its banks and, consequently, floodwaters damaged the Chansom Memorial Foot Bridge beyond repair. The City Council put up a barrier blocking the entrance of the bridge on the Kad Luang (Warorot Market) side. A sign stated that the bridge was damaged and therefore temporarily closed. According to the magazine Chiang Mai City Life, the foundation of the bridge had collapsed. I was just in time to take a number of pictures of the old bridge on September 9, 2012.
The demolition of the bridge
The demolition of the bridge started in late December 2012 or early January 2013. I took these pictures on January 16, 2013. A banner on the bridge announced the reconstruction of the bridge that was going to be 3 meters wide and 110 meters long. The construction contract had started on September 8, 2012. The project with a budget of 8,730,000 Thai Baht was to be finalized in 360 days on September 2, 2013. It was not to be. When I took the below pictures on September 9, 2012, no one was working on the bridge.
The reconstruction of a Chiang Mai Landmark
During the almost four years between the demolition and the completion of the reconstruction, I visited the site regularly to monitor the progress. Journaliest Nopniwat Krailerng wrote this in the May 19-June 1, 2013 edition of the Chiang Mai Mail: “The Chansom Memorial Bridge- the footbridge near Waroros Market, will be torn down and rebuilt at the cost of 8.73 million baht, construction is expected to take around a year. Construction was scheduled for 2011 – 2012 but flooding delayed the start. Approval from the Marine Department of Chiang Mai was given on May 8, 2013, and the bridge is slated to be 3 meters wide and span 110 meters.
The bridge was not only heavily damaged during the floods but has also seen subsidence since its construction in 1966 by Montriram (Montri) Koslaphirom who named the bridge in honor of his wife Chansom.”
This picture was above the short article:
The bridge was not completed on September 2, 2013. Apparently, authorities canceled the contract with the construction company and took down the banner. In the first half of 2014, not much happened until I saw this banner on July 26, 2014
Local authorities informed us though on December 23, 2014, that the reconstruction of the bridge was indefinitely put on hold. It apparently was difficult to find a good contractor to build the new bridge.
The reconstruction starts again
In 2015 reconstruction of the bridge started again with a new contractor. I posted this picture on Facebook in March 2015:
On May 15 2015 City News Chiang Mai featured an article with the header: Foot Bridge Returns after Four years. It stated that at each foot of the bridge “a pretty grass knoll” would be made. The mayor promised to make this bridge a beautiful Lanna-style bridge that will become a tourist attraction and will be safe for visitors and locals to cross the river from Wat Gate to the market. The mayor said that the bridge would be finished by Loy Krathong at the latest. At the time of writing the bridge was at 60-70% completion, according to City News Chiang Mai.
I took the below pictures on July 6, 2015:
Well, the bridge was not completed before the Loy Krathong festival which was on November 25, 2015. I took these pictures on November 2, 2015. Work was progressing at a snail’s pace.
The below pictures, I took on December 23, 2015
The opening of the new Chansom Memorial Bridge delayed
On January 13, 2016, I visited the bridge again. It still was not finished and no one was working on it. A man from the neighborhood told me that the construction company didn’t stick to the contract.
On May 24 I took the below picture of the bridge. The reconstruction was completed but the bridge was still closed. At least now the lighting and the railing had been installed.
Anyway, excitement was mounting but it would take until August 14 before the opening took place. On August 13 I sneaked across the bridge which was still closed to the public.
The opening of the new Chansom Anusorn Bridge, a Chiang Mai Landmark
The opening took place on Sunday, August 14, and was a memorable occasion. Below are some of the pictures I took on that day. A Chiang Mai was restored.
This finalizes the story of the reconstruction of the iconic Chansom Memorial Bridge.
Updated: March 14, 2021