HCMC accelerating traffic projects behind schedule

Many suspended traffic construction projects in Ho Chi Minh City are gradually reignited to improve the living standards of city dwellers and boost socio-economic development.
Traffic at Phu Huu Roundabout on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street (Photo: SGGP)

Traffic at Phu Huu Roundabout on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street (Photo: SGGP)

Even in the holiday period, the traffic density on 7-meter-wide Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in Thu Duc City was still rather high, with lots of trucks and cars moving slowly in and out of Phu Huu Port. Two-wheel vehicles had much trouble weaving through those larger ones in a dangerous way since there is no street separator at all. This street has been a hot spot of traffic accidents in HCMC so far.

“For many years, this street has been seriously degraded and is now full of holes. This is the reason for frequent traffic accidents here. When the school day ends and a large number of students pour out at the same time, the situation becomes much worse”, said Huynh Minh Thong, a local resident here.

Despite such danger, the repair and upgrade task for the street is just so sluggish. The street expansion project was approved in 2019 with an estimated investment of VND832 billion (US$35.4 million) and then rising to VND1.63 trillion ($69.4 million) due to more land compensation. However, until now, functional agencies have no response on an official date to start construction work.

Facing a similar fate is the completion of Ring Road No.2, which is considered the main route to regulate traffic and reduce congestion for the inner city. There is 14km left out of the full length of 64km. This leftover is divided into 4 sections, and 3 of them have received no investment yet while the last one (beginning in 2017 under the Build-and-Transfer mode) is still in progress.

Other unfinished traffic projects behind schedule in HCMC include the expansion of Nguyen Thi Dinh Street, the construction of My Thuy Roundabout (stage 2), Nam Ly Bridge, Tang Long Bridge, Long Dai Bridge (Thu Duc City), Thoai Ngoc Hau Street – the section to Vanh Dai Trong Crossroads, a connection street from Kinh Duong Vuong Street to Nguyen Van Linh Street (from Tan Phu District to Binh Tan District), Binh Tien Bridge and Road in District 6, Nguyen Khoai Street in District 4, Metro Route No.2 from Ben Thanh to Tham Luong.

To address traffic problems on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street, Director of the HCMC Transport Department Tran Quang Lam informed that his Department has already proposed to the Transport Ministry to allow the temporary use of the area under the expressway there for two-wheel vehicles to move. In the long term, HCMC is going to expand this street to link to Street No.990 into Ring Road No.2.

As to the tardiness in carrying out the expansion project, the HCMC Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority (TCIP) shared that the steps of developing a construction design, estimating costs, and compensating for land clearance are still on the way.

Director Luong Minh Phuc of TCIP explained that most traffic projects are behind schedule (some by 3-6 years) owing to the land clearance step. To amend the situation, TCIP is cooperating with localities to work out specific dates for land clearance of each project. Any cleared land lot will be immediately worked on.

The HCMC Transport Department reported that the capital requirement for traffic infrastructure in the next 10 years come to VND904.3 trillion ($38.5 billion), including VND438 trillion ($18.7 billion) from the city budget.

In the following 5 years, the city needs to focus on 3 expressways of HCMC – Moc Bai (building), HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay (expansion), and HCMC Trung Luong (expansion). It must also upgrade National Highway No.1, 13, 22, and 50 while trying to complete constructing Ring Roads No.2 and 3.

Important intersections that should be built by 2025 are An Phu, My Thuy, Go Dua, Linh Xuan, Bon Xa, Cong truong Dan Chu, and the one between National Highway No.1A and Vuon Lai Street. In addition, 4 new large-scaled bridges should be built: Thu Thiem 3 (linking Thu Duc City and District 4), Thu Thiem 4 (linking Thu Duc City and District 7), Cat Lai (linking HCMC and Dong Nai Province), and Can Gio (linking Nha Be District and Can Gio District).

Experts in the field commented that being the largest city in the country, HCMC still faces so much congestion right at its many entrances due to tardiness in carrying out traffic projects. It is wiser to quickly finish these projects to avoid unnecessary cost increases, and to apply more practical measures in the land clearance task. Finally, the city should choose the most urgent projects to focus on.

The list of traffic projects invested by HCMC in the 2016-2020 period has 115 projects using the city budget. 75 of them are behind schedule, 67 of which are owing to land clearance problems and the rest to investment procedures.

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