HCM City has 200 unsafe bridges

Update: January, 23/2018 - 09:00
The Long Kiển Bridge in Nhà Bè District in HCM City. The bridge collapsed last Friday after a truck weighing nearly 10 times its allowed capacity tried to cross it. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Xuân Tình
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — HCM City has about 200 bridges in need of repair or replacement, 30 of which will be repaired by 2020, said Bùi Xuân Cường, director of the city’s Department of Transport.

One of the bridges, the Long Kiển Bridge, located on Lê Văn Lương Street in the outer district of Nhà Bè, collapsed last Friday after a truck weighing nearly 10 times its allowed capacity tried to cross it.

The 12.6-tonne vehicle was carrying 17 tonnes of goods as it attempted to cross the bridge, while no vehicle weighing over 3.5 tonnes is allowed on it. The accident caused no casualties, but sent the truck and a motorbike into the river.

Speaking at a press conference after the accident last Saturday, transport director Cường said that the Long Kiển Bridge, together with three other bridges that are also located on Lê Văn Lương Street, are four of the 30 bridges in the city that will be repaired by 2020, Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

The four bridges – Long Kiển, Rạch Đỉa, Rạch Tôm and Rạch Dơi – create an essential route that connects HCM City and the southern province of Long An.

Built before 1975, despite having degraded and become unsafe for passengers, these bridges have not been repaired even though the proposals for their repair were approved by the city’s authorities in 2001.

This is because the bridges’ designs do not meet the Ministry of Transport’s standards for bridge construction, said HCM City transport director Cường.

“The ministry requires bridges to have roads on both sides and another underneath, which these four bridges don’t have,” he said. “We need to redesign them and make plans for site clearance, which delays the plans.”

The transport department will try to get these four bridges ready for repair by the end of the year, Cường added.

The authorities of Nhà Bè District are working on a compensation plan for site clearance for the Rạch Địa and Long Kiển bridges, he said.

“We expect to start upgrading these two bridges in the second quarter of this year,” he said.

The department has also proposed to call for public investments in repairing the remaining Rạch Dơi and Rạch Tôm bridges this year instead of implementing them under the Build-Transfer (BT) mechanism, since the city was unable to mobilise capital for these projects, Cường added.

“The city wanted to mobilise capital under the Build-Transfer (BT) mechanism, but was unable to decide how it will return capital to investors,” Cường said.

“All procedures for the repair of the two [Rạch Dơi and Rạch Tôm] bridges will be completed by September this year at the latest,” he said.  

The department will also closely monitor and facilitate the repair of other weak bridges in the city, Cường said. — VNS