|Workers repair subsidence on the portion of National Highway No1 that passes through central Ha Tinh Province's Thach Lien Commune. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Quan
HA NOI (VNS) — Contractors will not be allowed to collect toll fees, and they must pay for repairs if cracks and subsidence are found on roads, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said.
On a Viet Nam Television programme, "People Ask-Ministers Answer," on Sunday, Thang noted that no contractor or investor will want cracks or subsidence to happen to their roads as they will have to pay for repairs. They will not dare to build roads carelessly as the ministry has increased the maintenance period of roads from two years to four years.
According to Thang, the ministry has set up a specialised team to study the causes for road subsidence and take measures to deal with it. It has helped reduce subsidence rate from 8-10 per cent in 2014 to 3.54 per cent this year.
In addition, the ministry has sent inspection teams to check projects that developed cracks and subsidence and found that the quality of building materials, overloaded trucks, and prolonged heat wave had contributed to the problem.
He affirmed that the ministry has been re-examining the criteria for project design and the management of asphalt quality. It will tighten control over overloaded trucks and the inspection of building processes to minimise damaged roads.
In response to questions on fee collection, Thang stressed there has been no overlap in fee collection between build-operate-transfer (BOT) roads and special-use roads.
He cited the Law on Traffic Roads, which stipulated that the fee levied on each means of transport running on the road, or the Road Maintenance Fund as it is named in Viet Nam, met the expenses of State-funded projects. Meanwhile, through fees on BOT projects, the money invested in the construction and maintenance of roads can be recovered.
At the programme, Thang admitted there are some wrongly placed toll stations collecting double tolls. He noted that his ministry has been revising and cancelling improper stations. The tollbooth at Deo Ngang Tunnel, for example, will be the first to be cancelled early next year if negotiation with its investor succeeded, he added.
Responding to complaints about high fee on BOT projects, Thang commented that BOT roads such as Noi Bai-Lao Cai shortened travel time, cut associated costs by 30 per cent, and provided healthier and safer travel options for drivers and passengers.
Talking about Phu Quoc International Airport, Minister Thang said his ministry will implement a pilot project to sell the operation rights of the airport. He affirmed that services cost will remain under the State's management, so investors will not be allowed to increase travel prices. — VNS