Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Transport Ministry asked highway investors to take urgent measures to deal with cracks and subsidence found on National Highway 1, which runs from Phan Thiết City in southern Bình Thuận Province to Đồng Nai Province. The ministry said contractors will not be allowed to collect toll fees if repairs are not completed before May 20.
The request was made following last week’s ministry inspection of a series of road surface cracks reported by local media recently.
The project to upgrade the 114km national highway was funded by Corporation 319 under the Build-Operate-Transfer model at a total cost of more than VNĐ2 trillion (US$89 million).
The highway has suffered from subsidence since it opened a year and a half ago. The worse damage includes serious cracks close to toll booths and traffic lights, where vehicles usually stop for a long time, Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper reported.
Highway investors have observed and repaired sunken areas more than than 2.5cm deep by leveling the road to ensure traffic safety. But many new cracks are continuously found on the road.
The cracks and subsidence are thought to be caused by the weight of vehicles stopping for a long time and by the effect of heat on the road surface, said Trần Xuân Bình, the deputy director of Sông Phan company under Corporation 319.
But many transport experts reject these claims, saying the quality of the road before the highway upgrade was better than the quality of the newly-funded road. These experts blame the sinking on sub-standard construction procedures, poor-quality construction materials, and lax supervision from investors and contractors.
Nguyễn Việt Dũng, the director of Sông Phan company, confessed to the inpsection team the slow progress in repairing the road, despite receiving upgrade requirements from the Transport Ministry.
According to Đặng Trung Thành, the deputy head of Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau, the head of the Transport Ministry inspection team, the ministry set up a specilised team to study the caving in and shifting of the land along the highway, immediately after the cracks were first noticed.
He said leveling the road is only a temporary measure. The damages need repair. And traffic safety and construction quality must be ensured during the repairs.
The Burea also ordered the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam - and concerned units - to repair subsidence on the road surface of the Đồng Nai Bridge construction project before May 30. The Directorate will propose that the Transport Ministry stop collecting toll fees, unless the damages are properly repaired. — VNS