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Traffic chaos on Hà Nội-Lào Cai highway

Update: January, 10/2017 - 09:00
Passengers embark and disembark from coaches running on the Hà Nội - Lào Cai Highway. - VNA/VNS Photo Ngọc Hà
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The number of traffic safety violations on the country’s longest highway, Hà Nội-Lào Cai, has been increasing after being in use for two years, traffic police and authortiy official have said.

Col Phạm Văn Hòa of Traffic Police Department said the number of traffic violations of passenger cars is rising.

After more than two years of operation, many accidents have occurred on the highway due to drivers ignoring traffic regulations for picking up and dropping off passengers, Hòa was quoted by Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper yesterday.

The latest accident happened on January 3. One person was killed when his four-seater car crashed into a tractor going the opposite direction.

Along the 265km-long highway running through five provinces, hundreds of barriers have been broken by locals,  Tiền Phong reported.

People destroy barriers to cross the highway or to stand on the roadside to wait for buses, with the practice especially common in densely populated areas along the highway in provinces of Lào Cai, Yên Bái and Phú Thọ.

In Lào Cai Province’s Bảo Thắng District, dozens of people often stand on roadsides during rush hours to catch coaches to Hà Nội and surrounding provinces.

Car drivers have also ignored traffic regulations by using many road sections to pick up and drop off passengers. These violations cause danger to other vehicles on the road.

Vũ Đạt, a local resident said that he often stands on the highway to wait for a bus to Hà Nội.

“I know the danger and that it is a traffic violation but the station is too far to walk to. I have to spend more time and money to rent a xe ôm  (motorbike taxi) to get to the station which is about 10km from my house,” he told the newspaper.

Many locals stand near the highway’s fence to wait for cars, Đạt added.

On the section in Yên Bái Province, dozens of xe ôm block part of the road waiting for clients.

In Vĩnh Phúc, Phú Thọ and Yên Bái provinces, locals use the highway’s corridor to let animals graze and plant crops, the newspaper said.

Talking to the media, many drivers using the expressway said it was difficult to travel on the road, as the speed is limited to 40km per hour because there are construction sites along the highway, part of a project to expand the highway from two to four lanes.

The low speed makes many drivers impatient and prompts them to use the wrong lane, increasing the likelihood of collisions, drivers said.

Bùi Đình Tuấn, director of the management board of the expressway, said the accidents did not happened on the construction sites but the limited speed on the highway causes difficulties for road users. Traffic police have strengthened patrols on the highway, but the violations continue to occur.

The police and other traffic security forces can’t stop the violations because the road spans five provinces, said Hòa.

There were difficulties in stopping coaches picking up and dropping passengers off on the highway because there are only five rest stops along the entire route.

Hòa added that there are several cameras on the road to monitor vehicles but car drivers ignore them and pick up and drop off passengers at sections without cameras or police. - VNS

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