Viet Nam News
HCM City — Investment in transport infrastructure in the south falls short of the requirement, hindering the region’s growth, a seminar heard in HCM City last week.
“HCM City and neighbouring provinces like Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, Long An account for over 42 per cent of GDP, 40 per cent of exports and 60 per cent of Government revenues, but investment in their transport infrastructure has not been commensurate or given attention in recent years,” Nguyễn Thành Lợi, deputy editor-in-chief of Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper, the seminar organiser, said.
The southern region has only two expressways: HCM City – Long Thành – Dầu Giây measuring 43km and HCM City – Trung Lương measuring 42km.
The total length of expressways in the country measures 746km.
“The two expressways face the threat of being overloaded due to the huge number of vehicles,” Lợi added.
There are few large bridges in the region either. Except ones like Cần Thơ, Mỹ Thuận and Rạch Miễu, most bridges on National Highway No 1A are small and bottlenecked.
“The national master plan for southern transportation has been approved by the Government but executing it remains a problem,” Nguyễn Văn Tám, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Transport, said.
HCM City still lacks key ring roads, he said, pointing out that belt road Nos 2 and 3 are under construction and No 4 is still on paper.
"These roads should have been built long ago to avoid having vehicles pass through the city.”
Shortage of funds and difficulties in acquiring land are the main reasons for the situation, he said.
Võ Kim Cương of the HCM City Master Plan Association said: “Master planning is very important but how to implement such master plans is much more important.”
He said that without proper implementation no master plan would be very effective.
“If the Government wants HCM City and the southern region to develop rapidly, it needs to make huge investments.”
Hà Ngọc Trường, deputy chairman of the HCM City Road and Bridge Association, recalled that in 2005 the Government had approved a transport development master plan for the Mekong Delta for up to 2020.
“We have only three years left but barely half the work has been done.
“Waterway transportation in the Mekong Delta is degrading and roads have to carry 90 per cent of cargo and passengers. It is unreasonable.”
Waterway transport from HCM City to the Mekong Delta is only through the Chợ Gạo channel, which, while being large enough for big vessels, is overloaded.
According to an estimate from the HCM City Cargo Transport Association, roads in the Mekong Delta only meet 30 per cent of transporters’ demand and this affect the competitiveness of the region’s agricultural and aquacultural produce. — VNS