DA NANG (VNS) — Methods of designing and constructing road tunnels and ways to maintain them by responding to natural and human risks were issues highlighted in an international seminar held late last week in central Da Nang City.
|The south gates of the Hai Van Road Tunnel in Da Nang. Experts have called for more attention to issues related to designing, operating and managing the tunnels to ensure safety and sustainability. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
The two-day seminar, jointly held by the World Road (PIARC), the Viet Nam Road Administration and the Viet Nam Bridge and Road Association, drew the participation of more than 40 delegates from PIARC member countries including Spain, Norway, France, China and the UK together with Vietnamese experts in this field.
Van Huu Chien, chairman of the city's People's Committee, who is also former director of the city's Department of Transport, said tunnels played an important role in developing transport infrastructure as they could help travellers avoid dangerous intersections, reduce traffic accidents, and save time for drivers.
Therefore, more and more tunnels had been built in the world in general and in Viet Nam in particular, he said.
However, due to the increasing number of vehicles using the tunnels, it was necessary to pay more attention to issues related to designing, operating and managing the tunnels to ensure their safety and sustainability, Chien stressed.
The numbers of incidents and accidents happening in road tunnels were probably not as high as those on roads, but their consequences were often much more serious, he said, adding that the quality of management of these projects must be further improved.
Ngo Thinh Duc, chairman of the Viet Nam Bridge and Road Association, said building and managing tunnels was a very new field in Viet Nam.
"Hai Van Tunnel is our first project. It has been in use since 2005, and still has to be completed. It means that we just have eight years of experiences since Japan's technology was transferred to Viet Nam."
Nguyen Dinh Bach, general director of the Hai Van Tunnel Management and Development Company, said from June 2005 to September this year, the tunnel has seen 11 overturned vehicles, 53 accidents and 41 fires.
Tunnel management and development still faces many difficulties due to the lack of experience and equipment for the examination, assessment and repair of structural faults, and fire prevention, Bach said.
Nguyen Huu Tien, deputy head of the Ministry of Transport's Environment Department, said assessment of environmental pollution levels such as air and noise in tunnel areas had not been given much attention.
In addition, due to incomplete water drainage systems in big cities like Ha Noi, some tunnels such as Kim Lien Tunnel was easily flooded after heavy rains.
Therefore, to minimise environmental contamination, experts suggested the country continuously inspect the quality of the air and review and assess the efficiency of current environmental protection systems in the tunnels.
They also stressed the need to manage transportation activities, including the control of the loading capacity of vehicles across the tunnels, and raise community awareness on traffic safety regulations.
Deo Ca tunnel project gets funding agreement
A credit agreement on funding for the Deo Ca Tunnel project on National Highway 1, which links the two central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, was signed in Ha Noi last week.
Following the agreement, the Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) will loan Deo Ca Tunnel Investment JSC VND5.4 trillion (US$250 million) to build the 3.9-km tunnel.
Construction on the VND10.5 trillion ($500 million) tunnel started in late 2012. When completed in 2016, the tunnel is expected to reduce traffic accidents on National Highway 1 and boost the central region's economic development. — VNS