Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The lack of legal framework for expressway maintenance has hindered road maintenance tasks, affecting road quality and posing high risks for drivers.
Seven expressways have been put into operation since 2010 with a total length of 750km, contributing to the socio-economic development of the country, but the maintenance of these roads fails to meet real-world demand.
The Hà Nội-Bắc Giang highway, for example, started toll collection one month ago but maintenance tasks revealed shortcomings. Wild grass and trees along many parts of the barriers separating lanes of the highway have grown too high, stretching out onto the roadway, threatening driver safety.
Deputy Director of the Hà Nội-Bắc Giang BOT Company, Quốc Anh, explained that since the road was put into operation there remains a lot of work to do and the company could not focus on the maintenance tasks.
He also said that the rainy season had started, creating conditions for the rapid growth of wild grass so it would take time for the company’s workers to cut the grass.
Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, Deputy Director of the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam’s Road Management Department, said the department often sent officials to check the Hà Nội-Bắc Giang road and asked the road investor to pay attention to road maintenance tasks to ensure good road quality.
If investors failed to carry out the maintenance as required, they would be punished and could even be ordered to stop collecting road maintenance fees from vehicles, he said.
The situation is similar on the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng highway with some stretches of the road meridian covered in rubbish, while sand and gravel was strewn on roads. Also, wild grass and trees have grown along the edge of the road and stretched onto the roadway.
Deputy Head of the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Highway Exploitation Management Board Lê Xuân Tú said that road maintenance was carried out once every two months but they would check sections that were said to have wild grass stretching onto roadways.
At present, many investors complained that the lack of technical and legal foundations to calculate road maintenance costs was one of the key reasons leading to shortcomings in maintenance tasks. Unreasonable road maintenance costs could lead to problems relating to road quality and road maintenance fees paid by drivers.
A representative from the Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Joint Stock Company, investor of the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng highway, said the estimated maintenance cost for this 105-km road is VNĐ50 billion (US$2.25 million) per year, equivalent to nearly VNĐ50 million ($2,240) per km per month (including the maintenance of the road surface and the electricity system along the road).
The Việt Nam Expressway Corporation has submitted to the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam for approval a maintenance plan for three expressways, including Cầu Giẽ-Ninh Bình, Nội Bài- Lào Cai and HCM City-Trung Lương, at an estimated cost of VNĐ74.4 billion ($3.32 million) in 2016.
Lê Hồng Điệp, Head of the Road Maintenance Department, said the department was compiling regulations on road maintenance quality and cost calculation for issuance in the coming months.
While waiting for the regulations, these expressways would be still kept under maintenance normally, he said, adding that maintenance costs and standards for each expressway would depend on its specific structure. — VNS