|The Cay Go flyover. Experts say congestion in the city is no longer focused in certain traffic hot spots, and flyovers are only a temporary solution. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS) — A series of newly-built steel flyovers have been put into use in HCM City to reduce traffic congestion. However, some have proven to be ineffective, especially during rush hours.
The Hang Xanh intersection flyover is an example. The four-lane flyover, with a width of 16 metres and a length of 390 metres, opened to traffic early last year in Binh Thanh District. The VND88 billion (US$4.1 million) flyover, which was designed for both cars and motorbikes, was expected to reduce 80 per cent of the area's traffic jams.
However, all two-wheeled vehicles were banned when this flyover was inaugurated due to safety concerns, leaving the congestion unimproved. The city tried to divide lanes and allow two-wheeled vehicles on the flyover as a trial. But after a short period, they were forced to again ban the vehicles.
Nguyen Thi Tram, resident in District 2, said she and other people were still suffering from traffic jams during rush hours, although the overpass helped ease the situation.
"I go to this road everyday and the situation has yet to get better. I feel annoyed, as the city authorities keeps banning and allowing motorbikes to run on this road."
"Many flyovers have been built, but traffic chaos still happen. I think authorities should evaluate their effectiveness before building more such projects," she said.
The same situation occurs at other flyovers, which solved the traffic jams at intersections, though traffic chaos arose in surrounding areas during peak hours.
Recently, city authorities approved building a steel flyover in Go Vap Intersection at a cost of VND354 trillion ($16.8 million).
The city has also considered a project to build two overpasses at two crossroads in District 3 and District 11.
Last year, six steel flyovers were built at serious congestion-prone areas in the city.
Doctor Pham Xuan Mai of HCM City's University of Technology, said flyovers should only be built at certain key traffic spots in the city.
"Congestion in the city has become a long stream, instead of just in spots, as in other places. Flyovers only solved the problem at the place they were installed," he said.
Doctor Nguyen Huu Nguyen of The Southern Economic Research Centre, said construction of flyovers could not ease the current situation.
In general, the area for traffic in urban areas must be between 20 and 25 per cent of the total area, while that found in Viet Nam was only 7-9 per cent. Underground bridges or flyovers could only expand 1 per cent of it.
According to experts, the city had more than 7,000 kilometres of roads, but 2,000 of these were narrow. Thus, the city should organise different vehicles to travel on different routes, with tuk tuks being the correct choice in narrow areas.
The city should invest more in the network of buses and the construction of a subway. The reduction of population density from urban to suburban areas should also be carried out. — VNS