HA NOI — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked the transport sector to tackle issues such as traffic accidents, low-quality construction projects and poor planning management, as well as speed up transport projects to meet the country's demands for industrialisation and modernisation.
|Horrific traffic congestion on Sai Gon Bridge stretching from District 2 to Binh Thanh District in HCM City. Tackling traffic jams, road deaths and sub-standard highway infrastructure are among the most pressing tasks facing the transport sector. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
Among the tasks, which were outlined on Saturday at a conference to review the sector's operations in 2011 and launch activities for this year, the PM highlighted the need to take synchronised measures to reduce traffic accidents and congestion, especially in major cities.
PM Dung urged the sector to make the necessary efforts to reduce road accidents by between 5 and 10 per cent in 2012, which has been named Traffic Safety Year
"The most effective measure is to enhance the awareness of people on the road," Dung said. "Most traffic accidents are alcohol related so we must ensure tough measures to keep people who have consumed alcohol from driving."
Last year, Viet Nam saw a year-on-year decrease of 9.18 per cent in road accidents, 3.8 per cent in fatalities and 7.37 per cent in injuries.
Dung also urged the Ministry of Transport to take action to ensure that all travellers could return to their hometowns for Tet (lunar new year) safely and without traffic congestion.
The PM asked the sector to build mechanisms and policies focused on expanding National Highway 1, repairing degraded highways and expressways linking Ha Noi with Lao Cai, Hai Phong and Thai Nguyen, and developing a modern transportation system.
"We need to turn National Highway 1A into a four-lane highway quickly, with two separate lanes for motorbikes in suitable locations," he said. "The sector needs to take all measures to speed up and ensure the quality of key national highway projects so that we will have 2,000km of highways by 2020," he said.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Transport Truong Tan Vien said that his sector would invest about VND42 trillion (US$2 billion) in infrastructure development this year, a 31 per cent increase over last year.
Vien said that more than half of the money would come from outside the State budget by mobilising resources from Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Transfer (BT) projects. More than one third would come from Government bonds and the remaining 18 per cent would be sourced from the State budget, he said. Those resources would be used to build or upgrade an additional 1,000km of roads, 15,000 metres of flyover passes, 230km of barriers to maintain railway safety, 232 metres of sea ports and 1,930 metres of sea dikes, he said.
"This will contribute in part to reducing traffic congestion in big cities and reducing the number of traffic accidents by between 5 and 10 per cent, and lowering the number of related deaths and injuries in comparison with 2011," he said. — VNS