|The road to Co Chien Bridge has crumbled in the two months since it opened to traffic. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — A new road leading to Co Chien bridge connecting the two Mekong Delta provinces of Ben Tre and Tra Vinh has been seriously downgraded just two months after it was opened to traffic.
The road was part two of the Co Chien bridge construction project. Part one, the bridge itself, was finished and opened to traffic in May.
The 1.6-km four-lane bridge crossing the Co Chien River was built at a cost of nearly VND2.3 trillion (US$105 million) from the State budget and investors.
Financed by the State, the 9km road leading to it cost VND997 billion (US$45.7 million) was then built or upgraded.
Started in 2011, the whole project was completed 15 months earlier than scheduled.
A resident living by the road leading to the bridge in Thanh Thoi commune in Mo Cay Nam district in Ben Tre Province said that one month after the bridge opened, pot-holes appeared leading to it from the former Co Chien ferry landing. After heavy rain, it degraded even further.
Nguyen Chung Khanh, general director of a project managing board under the Ministry of Transport, said that the road now faced severe subsidence. He blamed the situation on lorries weighing more than 10 tonnes which regularly use it. The road is officially limited to lorries and loads weighing less than 10 tonnes.
The project managing board asked the consortium of companies involved in the project to make immediate repairs to the road.
A total of 285 screws used to fix railings to the bridge have also been stolen. Residents complained there were not enough left to secure the railing.
Traffic expert Vu Xuan Hoa said the railings were now so weak they could bend if many people leaned on them at the same time.
Co Chien is one of four major bridges on National Highway 60. The others are at Rach Mieu, Ham Luong, and Dai Ngai.
The Co Chien bridge, which crosses a river of the same name, was opened to traffic in mid May, reducing the distance between HCM City and Tra Vinh province from 60km to 50km.
It is one of the important links between Highway 60 and highways along the eastern coast corridor of the Mekong Delta, including Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces.
A consortium of project investors, including the Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No. 1 (Cienco 1), Tuan Loc Construction Investment Joint Stock Company and 577 Investment Corporation are involved in this Build-Operate-Transfer project, can collect tolls for 19 years to recover their capital. — VNS