HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway becomes overloaded

The HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway has repeatedly faced congestion, not to mention serious collisions, showing signs of being overloaded.


Many frequent drivers on the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway complained that traffic flow on this 26-kilometer route has been too slow these days due to high traffic volume and accidents. For instance, on February 3 this year, at Km34 + 700 in the direction from HCMC to Dong Nai Province, a pile-up of 4 automobiles led to a traffic jam of more than 10km. Many people had to switch to alternative routes on National Highway No.1 passing Dong Nai Bridge or Cat Lai Ferry.

Despite that low street quality, on February 1, 2024, the expressway was approved to increase its toll by 5 percent from VND2,000 to VND2,100 (US$0.085) per kilometer so that its investor – Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering JSC (VEC) – can ensure the maintenance of its financial plan and its ability to repay debt. At present, its toll revenue on this expressway is about VND4 billion ($161,800) a day.

Before this, on September 1, 2023, VEC had already raised the toll of certain vehicle types using this expressway by 10 percent. It explained that after a period of applying the toll reduction policy in compliance with Resolution 35/2016 by the Government, it could not repay its debt in accordance with the approved financial plan by the Transport Ministry.

Unluckily, the Covid-19 pandemic gravely affected its exploitation or building of expressways, namely Cau Gie – Ninh Binh, Ben Luc – Long Thanh, Noi Bai – Lao Cai, HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay, and Da Nang – Quang Ngai.

As cited in the debt repayment schedule of VEC, the repaid amount will increase gradually from 2024, plus many routes under its charge are in need of repair after a long using time. Adding to that is the demand of VND6 trillion ($242.76 million) for VEC to construct the Ben Luc – Long Thanh Expressway and VND5.33 trillion ($215,65 million) to repay the Government bond and arisen interest (paid in advance by the Ministry of Finance).

The Transport Ministry informed that the first stage of the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway project used money borrowed from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Government’s counterpart capital. Being built from 2009 – 2016, the route has a total length of 54km, with a total investment of over VND18 trillion ($728.5 million), one-third of which was from state budget.

Since its operation, the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway has had to accommodate a huge volume of traffic, with an average increase of 10.45 percent per year. The recent introduction of the two neighboring expressways of Dau Giay – Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet – Vinh Hao has made matters much worse. On average, each day, about 60,000 vehicles travel on this expressway, with the peak being 78,000 – nearly double the capacity of the route.

To amend the situation at peak hours or during an accident, the operation unit usually cooperates with the traffic police force to regulate the traffic flow. This method, however, greatly annoys drivers since traveling time is longer, meaning most transport costs for businesses. Obviously, the rising toll does not correspond with higher street quality and creates unfairness to street users.

Dong Nai Province has repeatedly proposed that the Transport Ministry accelerate the expansion of this key expressway; otherwise, the situation will only be a lot worse when Long Thanh International Airport comes into operation in 2026.

According to Deputy Director Phan Cong Bang of the HCMC Transport Department, his organization has already sent a request to the municipal People’s Committee for VND1 trillion ($40.5 million) from the city budget to widen the section of the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway passing HCMC from six to eight lanes. The plan was approved by the Transport Ministry, and land clearance has been complete, ready for construction. Nevertheless, a local expansion like this does not truly address the overall problem of congestion and collision if the section passing Dong Nai Province is still rather narrow.

The HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway has already retrieved nearly 22 percent of the capital compared to the total investment listed in Report No.3005/TTr-VEC on November 7, 2023. It is expected that the capital will be fully retrieved in 2038.

In 2023, there were 7 serious traffic accidents, killing 4 people and injured 4 others. Adding to that were 199 minor collisions and 305 jams. They mostly happen at the section between An Phu Intersection and the intersection with National Highway No.51.

The Traffic Police Department (C08) reported that it has to frequently assign staff to regulate traffic on this expressway due to the overloading status and slow flow or congestion. At present, it is collaborating with the Cat Lai Traffic Police Team to move traffic partially towards Hanoi Highway and restrict the number of vehicles entering this expressway at peak hours.

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