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Lao Cai wants pedestrian tunnels

Update: May, 05/2014 - 08:55
The highway route, which was 50 kilometres long in the province, was launched last month. It shortened the travel time between Lao Cai Province and Ha Noi. However, the highway has now become an inconvenience to locals who live along the route. — Photo baodautu

HA NOI (VNS) — The Transport Department of the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai has asked the contractor of the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway Project to build pedestrian tunnels on the route that passes the province.

The highway route, which was 50 kilometres long in the province, was launched last month. It shortened the travel time between Lao Cai Province and Ha Noi. However, the highway has now become an inconvenience to locals who live along the route.

In Bao Yen District's Cam Con Commune, only two out of the 25 pedestrian tunnels have been opened for residents. The rest are submerged under rainwater and have become unusable due to weak drainage systems.

Many residents also had to travel five kilometres through the tunnels to get to their fields located just some 200 metres away from their homes. Some children even waded through the submerged tunnels to reduce the walking distance to school.

Nguyen Van Thuong, chairman of the commune's People's Committee, said that the highway route divided the commune in two parts and caused difficulties for locals to travel around.

As many as 25 hectares of rice fields were at risk of being submerged due to the water discharged from the highway's drainage system.

"We hope the contractor will fix it soon," he said.

Nguyen Trong Hai, director of the provincial Department of Transport, said that after a survey of the route, the department has urged the contractor of the project, the Vietnam Expressway Corporation, to build more tunnels in spots where residential areas were located and to install and repair the drainage systems in the tunnels.

The department also asked the company to work with local authorities to ensure regular maintenance of the tunnels.

A representative of the company told reporters that the company has a plan to fix the problem.

They will repair the tunnels that pass through Son Ha, Cam Con and Tan Thuong communes to make travel easier.

The company will also work with local authorities to determine the best time to repair and build the tunnels.

The Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway project, with a total investment of more than VND19.9 trillion (US$1.2 million), is divided into eight construction packages.

The project will go through five cities and provinces: Ha Noi, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai. As an important project in the Kunming-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong road corridor, the highway is part of a co-operation programme among six countries in the Mekong Sub-region: Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, as well as Myanmar and China. — VNS

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