Ho Chi Minh City needs breakthrough projects

In recent years, leaders across the globe are calling for breakthroughs in various fields, in an effort to revive and rebuild the economy. However, breakthroughs in some fields, such as transport infrastructure, have faced many upheavals.
Illustrative photo.
Failure in breakthroughs 

Breakthroughs in any project require set planning and implementation, otherwise any of the tasks will crumble. We need to focus on all aspects, such as material, human resource, and technical knowhow, along with the right timing. If breakthroughs do not succeed, there can be costly consequences, waste of human resources, loss of confidence, and a further lack of motivation for more projects.

After two long and excruciatingly painful years, we are just seeming to emerge from the still ongoing variants of the Covid-19 pandemic. During these last two years the consequences to the economy and the livelihoods of the common man have taken a drastic toll. Compared with many other developing countries, the economy in Vietnam has somewhat survived, although it is still influenced heavily by the current global economic crisis. Ho Chi Minh City is struggling to stay afloat as the economy has slowed down drastically, even showing a negative growth for the very first time. In this scenario, there is also a lack of motivation for growth and development.

In order to gain a momentum and begin to survive once again, we need diverse and strong breakthroughs to stimulate and revive the economy faster, and in a much more efficient way. However, it is necessary to determine the right areas for the right breakthroughs, and also prioritise these for further breakthrough projects. Currently we suffer from a severe lack of capital, technology, and a highly qualified human resource base. Hence, if investment capital is spread out too thin, then even the right breakthrough will prove stagnant and inefficient.

Breakthrough in transportation 

There is always a wide range of opinions coming from people. Some think that it is necessary to make a breakthrough in educational institutions, others emphasize human resources, while some others prioritise on digital transformation or even tourism. Although all these are good suggestions for a long-term strategy, we need to focus on breakthroughs for the short term in order to create a high level of motivational push. At this point of time, we need a significant breakthrough in traffic and transportation, which would be both wise and necessary. Traffic and commuting is considered the lifeline for everyone in daily living, at all levels of society.

Just before the Tet New Year holiday season began, thousands of trucks and containers were stuck for hours in huge traffic jams along the Hanoi Highway, stretching for many kilometres. As soon as the Tet holidays ended, again people from the Northern and Western parts of the country returning to Ho Chi Minh City faced congestions for hours on end at the Rach Mieu Bridge, My Thuan Bridge, and at all the other gateways to the City.

This situation has been going on for many years now, showing that the traffic conditions in the South in general, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular have remained unchanged. It is this prevailing traffic situation that prompted Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to call for immediate implementation of key traffic works. In 2022, Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern provinces are hoping to see strong positive growth by around 6%, hence focus on breakthroughs in transport infrastructure is imperative.

With the current drastic traffic situation, Ho Chi Minh City needs to quickly complete Ring Road 2, which is 64 km in length but has two 14 km long unused sections from Go Dua to Phu Huu Bridge which is 8.5km, and from Trung Luong Expressway to National Highway 1A which is 5.3km. The completion of Ring Road 2 will bring about a huge change to the entire traffic moving towards Ho Chi Minh City. Once complete, the movement of motor vehicles and motorcycles will be more orderly and smooth, with trucks, containers, and super-heavy vehicles not having to go through the inner City as they move to the West, or Northwest and Northeast. Traffic jams on radial roads and city gateways will effectively reduce. Transportation of passengers and goods with high volume will move faster to production units and this will help businesses to recover faster in the post pandemic phase.

Incomplete ring roads

The next important task is to complete the 92 km long Ring Road 3, passing through four localities of Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Long An, and Dong Nai provinces. About 63 km of this Ring Road has not even started construction work. Once Ring Road 3 is completed, the inter-regional traffic from Ho Chi Minh City to its neighboring provinces will be smoother as all highways such as HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay, HCMC-Ben Luc-Long Thanh, HCMC-Can Tho, HCMC-Trung Luong-My Thuan, HCMC-Moc Bai, HCMC-Bien Hoa-Vung Tau, and HCMC-Bau Bang are interconnected. This interconnected traffic network will create a technical infrastructure which will help the South Eastern regions to accelerate on growth and development.

Along with this, construction of three bridges at Cat Lai, Can Gio, and Thu Thiem 4, with total capital of more than VND21,000 bn is essential. Of these, the Cat Lai bridge at a total cost of VND7,200 bn is considered the most important because connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Dong Nai province is vital. The construction of the Cat Lai bridge will meet the expectations of the people and workers from industrial zones, not just to avoid reliance on the daily ferry to cross the river, but also to help stimulate economic and social development in the area. Especially the boom of Nhon Trach will help solve the problem of land shortage in both Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai province. This will resonate in further development in the three provinces of Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The very first priority now is for Ho Chi minh City to put the Metro Line 1 Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien into operation at the earliest possible. This Metro Line has already taken sixteen years from the time of construction, and still the date of trial opening is quite uncertain. Even though Route 1 is not expected to change the picture of public transportation, but at least it will create excitement for people to agree for Line 2 and other routes to start in the future. Although Ho Chi Minh City needs a breakthrough in effective projects to get out of a stagnant state, the City authorities must apply smart planning and decisive breakthrough decisions that will prove of strategic value in the future.

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