Minister slams ‘wasteful' bridge repair plan

Update: April, 26/2014 - 09:08
The Thang Long Bridge which connects Noi Bai International Airport with Ha Noi. A proposal to repair the surface of the bridge has been rejected. — VNS File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)—Transport Minister Dinh La Thang has rejected as "improper and wasteful" a proposal by the Viet Nam Road Administration to spend more than US$14 million for repairing the surface of Thang Long Bridge.

The administration had said that the repairs were necessary because the bridge was rundown by high traffic flows.

The project, with an estimated cost of VND313 billion ($14.9 million), was submitted to the ministry for approval early this week.

The administration said the repairs would involve removing the waterproofing layers of the asphalt and replacing it with a new material that has greater weight-bearing capacity, will offer better protection against the effects of oxygenation and create friction on the bridge's surface.

The repairs would be implemented this year and completed by 2016. The project would be implemented using loans from the Japan International Co-operation Agency, the proposal said.

Thang Long Bridge, located on Ring Road 3, connects Ha Noi with the Noi Bai International Airport. Cracks and holes have appeared on its surface many times due to a high density of vehicles using it over 20 years.

Minister Thang said the asphalt had already been removed and replaced by polymer asphalt.

"This was a new technology with a complicated technique. Due to a restriction on construction conditions, some technical errors occurred on its surface and required one more repair," he said.

"The surface is now stable," he added.

Thang said the administration's proposal, which included the costs of purchasing building equipment, was improper and wasteful.

The minister has asked the administration to chalk out technical measures, based on the current condition of the bridge, which will ensure the structure's stability as well as economy in maintenance.

He said such measures can then be applied to constructions with similar technical structures.

At the end of 2009, VND97 billion ($4.6 million) was allocated from the state budget to repair the bridge's surface. However, two months after the bridge reopened, cracks and holes appeared on the road surface.

Since March, 2010, the Thang Long Bridge has undergone three repairs – one from March 2010 to September 2011, the second from January 2012 to May 2012 and the third from July to August 2012.

Despite efforts made by both foreign and domestic experts, the cracks have remained. — VNS