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Transport department proposes toll fee for Thang Long Boulevard

Update: February, 13/2014 - 09:40
Initial information from the department revealed that the project, with estimated investment capital of VND209 billion (US$9.8 million), would focus on building a smart traffic management system on the boulevard this year.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Ha Noi's Department of Transport was working on a project to collect road maintenance fees from vehicles on the Thang Long Boulevard, according to the deputy head of the department, Nguyen Xuan Tan.

Tan said the purpose of the toll was to modernise the management of the route, balance the volume of traffic and minimise traffic accidents.

Initial information from the department revealed that the project, with estimated investment capital of VND209 billion (US$9.8 million), would focus on building a smart traffic management system on the boulevard this year.

The system would cover traffic safety issues on the route, including preventing and dealing with traffic accidents. Cameras, electric road signs, and a weigh-bridge to detect overloaded trucks would be installed along the route.

According to Tan, the cost of building the smart traffic management system would be mobilised from sources under public-private partner or build-operate-transfer models.

The boulevard, the longest in the country, starts at the intersection of Lang-Hoa Lac and Belt Road III, and ends at the intersection between Lang-Hoa Lac Road, National Highway 21 and Ho Chi Minh Road.

The boulevard, which is 30 kilometres long and 140-170 metres wide, has six express lanes and two additional lanes for motorcycles and bicycles. It connects Ha Noi with satellite cities and tourist sites and is an important foundation for the development of the nearby Lang-Hoa Lac high-tech zone.

Last month, city authorities asked the Government for permission to collect fees on the boulevard. The submission has been opposed by the public.

Bui Danh Lien, chairman of the Ha Noi Aumobile Transport Association, said that the toll was unfair because the work should be paid for by the road maintenance fund.

He said since 2012, the Ministry of Transport had been abolishing road tolls nationwide since the fund was set up. The establishment of a toll on the boulevard was against the ministry's policy and caused annoyance for people who had to pay twice to travel along the route, he added.

Lien said three other streets ran parallel with the boulevard, and people were more likely to use them to avoid paying the toll, creating traffic chaos.

He added that the city should ask for funding from the State budget to subsidise road maintenance.

Nguyen Dinh Quan, a truck driver from Phuc Xa Street, said he would use different routes as he didn't want to pay more.

"None of us drivers want to pay fees when we have another choice. Maybe I'll pay if the additional roads become overcrowded and the fee is acceptable. If not, I'd rather choose another route," he said. — VNS

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