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Highway expansion work puts commuters in danger

Update: January, 14/2015 - 08:32
Vehicles of all kinds have to share narrow road sections as work continues on a highway expansion project in Phong Dien District, Thua Thien - Hue Province. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu.

THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS) — Both motorcyclists and drivers of bigger vehicles are on tenterhooks as they navigate the National Highway 1A stretch that runs through Thua Thien – Hue Province.

Expansion work on the highway has been taking place on the entire length of the road that runs through the central province since May 2013, forcing all vehicles to use small lanes on the side of the road as well as rocky sections and big holes.

With weeks to go before Tet (Lunar New Year) the nation's major festival, no improvement can be expected in the situation as work goes on in the northern part of the province, running from Phong Dien District to the centre of Hue City.

Several bus drivers who did not want to be named said the road section in Phong Dien District, including a flyover and several bridges over rivers, was the most dangerous.

"Sometimes I have to act with super-fast reflexes when a motorcyclist falls right in front of my vehicle because of holes on the road," said one bus driver on the Hue - Quang Binh route.

Tran Cong Phat, a commuter who travels from Phong Dien District to Hue City every day to study, said some parts of the road are too narrow for lorries, vans, bikes and bicycles to travel at the same time.

"It gives me a very risky, scary feeling. I can get hit by a hurrying lorry from behind at any time," he said.

Local newspapers have printed many reports on the potential dangers from construction work, but the situation has not improved despite the locality being in the grips of winter rains, reducing visibility.

A recent report in the Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper said the construction work had created many big holes on the road in Huong Thuy District, which is in the southern part of the province.

The report said many motocyclists fell after stumbling on holes filled with rainwater. The holes posed a risk for local children, it said.

The report quoted a resident of Thuy Phu Commune as saying the work had been suspended for two months, leaving vertical steel beams standing unused. These were "traps" for locals, he said.

Viet Nam News could not contact the project's main contractor, the Da Nang based Trung Phuong Group. Sub-contractors and lower-rank managers at the construction sites were not willing to talk, either.

Thua Thien – Hue is one of several provinces that the Government has blamed for delays in the highway expansion work. — VNS

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