Kwai River Bridge

General Information

Beginning of works: 1942
Completion: 1943
Status: in use

Project Type


Location: ,
  • Kwai
Coordinates: 14° 2' 27.39" N    99° 30' 13.45" E
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Technical Information


truss steel


October 1942

Construction begins.

March 1945

Two spans of the bridge are brought down and one span severely damaged by a flight of 3 B-24 bombers from the USAAF based in India

Beginning of 1946

The bridge is repaired with two spans from Java. The original bridge spans were assembled on site from steel brought in from Malaya. Presumably, the stell was from another bridge.


The route of the railway closely followed a route mapped by the British in 1908 and again in 1937. The railway connection to Burma was part of a British plan to link British Malaya and British Burma. The construction of the railway was postponed, when the British decided to build the Burma Road. Once the war began, the Japanese took up the British plan to support their troops in Burma.

The bridge gained fame due to the film "Bridge over the River Kwai" (1956/57) by David Lean who based it on the novel by Pierre Boulle. The movie won seven Oscars. The bridge in the movie however was made of bamboo.

The bridge was constructed using parts from a dismantled bridge in Java, shipped to Thailand and reassembled by thousands of allied prisoners of war. It was built for a major support line for the Japanese military from Ban Pong in Thailand to Thanyuzayat in Burma. The bridge was built in 16 months under excruciating conditions for the prisoners. By the end of it 18 000 allied prisoners and 78 000 Asian forced laborers had died.



Currently there is no information available about persons or companies having participated in this project.

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