|Measurements are taken from the National Highway 18 connectng Uong Bi City and Ha Long City in the northern province of Quang Ninh. The highway has subsided about 6 centimetres. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Hoang
HA NOI (VNS) — Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has suspended the designers, supervisors and constructors of a project to upgrade the section of National Highway No18 connecting Uong Bi City and Ha Long City in Quang Ninh Province.
The move follows reported cracks and subsidence on the road only two weeks after it was opened on May 18.
The minister also asked those responsible to fix the cracks and subsidence on the road.
As reported earlier, part of the section, a 9km stretch from Ha Khau Wad to Dai Yen Ward in Ha Long City, suffered subsidence from heavy trucks. Some cracks were reportedly 3-5 metres long and 4-5 centimetres deep.
Tran Xuan Sanh, director of Project Quality Management Department under the Ministry of Transport, said that the damage was due to low-quality materials, insufficient equipment and technology and poor supervision.
The project began in mid October 2011 and was completed in three years.
It officially opened to traffic on May 18. Ocean BOT JSC, the project's investor, spent a total of more than VND2.8 trillion (US$133 million) on the road.
A toll fee went into effect on June 1, with fees ranging from VND30,000 ($1.4) to VND160,000 ($7.6).
According to investors, the cracks and subsidence had been fixed already, and no new problems had appeared.
Minister Thang has asked for the introduction of standards for materials, construction procedures and supervision to improve new roads.
He emphasised that leaders should take responsibility for any shortcomings and strictly punished for poor quality roads. — VNS