|Tin Tuc (News) newspaper interviewed concerned agencies was told that many of the daily flow of about 8,000 to 10,000 trucks were overloaded. — Photo baotintuc
HA NOI (VNS) — Overloaded trucks grunting along the country's longest expressway from Ha Noi to Lao Cai (264km) deeply concern South Korean and Chinese contractors who built it.
Tin Tuc (News) newspaper interviewed concerned agencies was told that many of the daily flow of about 8,000 to 10,000 trucks were overloaded.
Reporters said it was not difficult to find truck carrying excessive load.
Truck owners often have their cargo enclosures heightened to carry more loads, from farm produce to building materials and minerals.
The extra loads often causes engines to heat up and drivers have to stop to splash water on them to cool them down.
On March 17, the Viet Nam Expressway Operation and Maintenance Co.Ltd, the body that manages the road in collaboration with the Directorate for Roads, started holding random checks of trucks on the expressway.
They have inspected a total of about 1,000 trucks to date, but only 28 (or 2.7 per cent) were found to exceed the load limit.
However, one truck (plate number BKS 19C-043.08) carrying chemicals from Lam Thao in Phu Tho Province to Lao Cai Province was found to be nearly three and a half times over the limit.
This case was not the most notorious. Mai Tuan Anh, director of Viet Nam Expressway Corporation, told the newspaper that two months ago, an ore-carrying truck running through Lao Cai Province overturned when one of its tyres exploded.
After cleaning up the mess, the company's workers still managed to gather 90 tonnes of ore in total, which was double the load limit.
Tuan Anh said that vehicles 10 to 20 per cent overweight impacted the road surface 1,500 times stronger than those carrying the legal tonnage.
He said trucks carrying mineral ores from the northern provinces were often found with loads two to three times their limit, adding that this not only damaged the road surface but was also a threat to traffic safety.
Bui Dinh Tuan, VEC O&M director, echoed Tuan Anh's idea. He said that the overloading situation had reached an alarming point, adding that the number of offenders caught was far too low.
Tuan told the newspaper that drivers of overloaded trucks tended to become tricky when they saw law enforcers approaching.
Some would stop their vehicle, lock it and walk away and hide, or they would pretend the vehcile had broken down and could not reach a nominated weigh station for a load check.
All South Korea's Kaengnam, Posco and Doosan groups, China's Guangxi Road and Bridge Construction Company, and Viet Nam's Vinaconex, who built the expressway, are concerned about the rate of damage caused by overloaded trucks.
"No expressway can bear such pressure," VEC agreed.
On March 20, VEC stopped selling tolls to vehicles suspected of being overweight at booths located at both ends of the expressway.
It has also joined hands with traffic police in the five provinces the road runs through, namely Ha Noi, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai to intensify random checks using mobile scales.
Hotlines have even been set up between road management staff and police to report suspicious vehicles.
Traffic police have also been stationed at the Ha Noi and Lao Cai tolls booths around the clock.
Local police have also increased inspections at the sources of many of the loads, mines and warehouses.
Two new weighing stations are also being installed at both entrances to the expressway.
The Ha Noi-Lao Cai expressway, the longest of its kind in Viet Nam, was opened last September, as part of the economic corridor from Kunming (Yunnan, China) to Ha Noi and Hai Phong. — VNS