Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Road accidents and traffic gridlocks are on the rise on National Highway 5, which links Hà Nội and Hải Phòng City, despite there being an alternative faster, smoother expressway.
National Highway 5 is a key route that starts from northeast of Hà Nội and runs up to the northern port city. Though the route has been upgraded many times, the quality has never been up to the mark.
A huge number of around 11,000 vehicles using the road daily, half of which are container trucks, has further worsened its condition.
The road was last upgraded three years ago, but its state has deteriorated again because of the large number of vehicles using it, said Đỗ Đức Việt from the city’s Traffic Police Department. Many parts of the road have sunk because of overloading, Việt said. This has increased traffic congestion as well as accidents, making the highway a high-risk zone.
To reduce sinkage, road maintenance teams have used excavators to rake the ground and make it flatter, but that is just a temporary solution, according to Việt.
According to the Hải Dương Province’s traffic police, the number of traffic accidents and fatalities on the section of National Highway 5 that runs through the province has risen. At least 258 accidents were recorded last year, which claimed 188 lives and injured 151 others. The number of deaths rose by 24.6 per cent in comparison with 2015.
Nguyễn Đăng Việt from Hải Dương’s Traffic Police Department blames the poor state of the road and high traffic for the rise in accidents.
The number of vehicles on National Highway 5 shot up after toll charged on the newly built Hà Nội-Hải Phòng expressway went up as many drivers chose to use this route to avoid paying toll.
During rush hours, traffic jams are common on the section that links Hưng Yên Province and Hà Nội. Authorities said the province has 600,000 motorbikes and 40,000 cars, nearly 10 times higher than that in 2000.
Hoàng Minh Cổn, deputy head of Hưng Yên’s Traffic Police Department, said contractors should reconsider to reduce the toll fee on Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway so that majority of the drivers don’t opt to use the old highway.
The 105-km Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway, the most modern of its kind in Việt Nam, passes through Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Hải Dương and Hải Phòng. It is 33m wide, has six lanes and traffic can move at 120km per hour. The Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC built the road at a cost of around VNĐ45.5 trillion ($2 billion) under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.
Since April 2016, vehicles using the Expressway have been charged 25 to 50 per cent more as toll; it comes to VNĐ2,000 per km per car. – VNS