|The overloaded HCM City-Trung Lương Expressway passing through HCM City and the provinces of Long An and Tiền Giang is expected to double the current number of lanes to meet travel demand. — Photo www.baogiaothong.vn|
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Transport has proposed to soon expand the HCM City – Trung Lương Expressway, where traffic jams often last for hours.
The department has sent an urgent document to the municipal People's Committee that the Prime Minister chair a meeting with relevant ministries and localities to seek an agreement for expanding the expressway.
Opened to traffic in 2010, the expressway has a total length of nearly 62km, with four lanes and a speed of 120km per hour.
Passing through HCM City and the provinces of Long An and Tiền Giang, it has become overloaded, especially on weekends and public holidays.
The department has proposed widening the expressway to eight lanes with an investment in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP) and assign a locality where the expressway passes through to carry out the work.
The expansion is expected to meet travel demand, promote socio-economic development and ensure transport connectivity between HCM City and neighbouring provinces in the region.
Toll collection on the expressway began in 2012 and was suspended in 2018, causing an increase in traffic volume, damage to the road surface and a lack of maintenance and repair funds.
That also led to an increasing risk of traffic accidents on the route.
In 2020, the expressway's degraded road surface was repaired with upgraded lighting at a cost of tens of billions of đồng.
The Ministry of Transport had asked the Government to consider reopening toll collection on the expressway.
Road accident alert on new expressway
In related news, 55 traffic-related accidents have been recorded on the new Trung Lương - Mỹ Thuận Expressway after opening three months ago.
The expressway between Tiền Giang Province and Cần Thơ City opened to traffic for free since April 30.
According to a report of the BOT Trung Lương - Mỹ Thuận Joint Stock Company, the expressway’s operation and management unit, the increased number of accidents was mainly caused by the sudden increase in traffic.
The expressway has served more than 1.8 million vehicles. About 31,000 vehicles use the expressway each day, the company said.
Traffic volume on the expressway is currently too large. The scale of the expressway’s first phase was calculated based on the demand and volume of vehicles ten years ago, which is no longer suitable for the current situation, it said.
The lack of a toll for use is also a cause of the increased number of vehicles using the expressway.
Tiền Giang Province’s People’s Committee has proposed that the Prime Minister soon approve the investment policy of the expressway project’s second phase with six lanes and two emergency stop lanes before 2030.
Toll collection on the expressway is scheduled to be put into operation from August 1.
The expressway, together with other planned expressways, including Mỹ Thuận-Cần Thơ, Cần Thơ-Cà Mau, Châu Đốc-Cần Thơ-Sóc Trăng, Cao Lãnh-An Hữu, are designed to better serve the travel demand of 21 million people in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region. — VNS