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City grapples with Tết gridlock around airport

Update: January, 14/2017 - 05:00
Gridlock is a regular occurrence on Trần Quốc Hoàn Street that leads out of Tân Sơn Nhất Airport in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Deputy Minister of Transport Lê Đình Thọ has instructed relevant agencies to take necessary measures to ease the congestion on roads around Tân Sơn Nhất Airport during Tết (Lunar New Year).

Speaking at a meeting with the city traffic authority this week, Thọ said they should closely co-ordinate all works and traffic police officers should be posted near the airport during peak hours to quickly clear traffic jams.

Trần Doãn Mậu, director of the Southern Airports Authority, said the number of passengers and frequency of flights during Tết would increase by 19.6 per cent this year.

On peak days before Tết, the airport expects to handle 113,000 passengers and 776 flights, 92 flights more than last year, he said.

The airport has set up more automatic check-in kiosks and screening machines and removed stalls to improve passengers’ convenience, he said.

The city police should keep an eye on small streets in the airport’s vicinity and ensure vehicles are not parked there, blocking entry and exit, he said.

Đặng Tuấn Tú, the airport director, said the gridlock in the area is caused by poor infrastructure and a large number of vehicles going on Trường Sơn Street past the airport.

The traffic police should mobilise enough officers to regulate hot spots such as Trường Sơn Street, Lăng Cha Cả Roundabout, and the Hoàng Văn Thụ - Nguyễn Văn Trỗi and Trần Quốc Hoàn - Phan Thúc Duyện intersections, he said.

Bùi Xuân Cường, director of the city Department of Transport, said since the end of December teams from various agencies have been on duty at the airport during peak hours – 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 7:30pm – to quickly clear accidents and other traffic problems.

More than 40,000 cars arrive at the airport daily, he said.

The city’s Urban Transport Management Department No.1 is removing the trees along the middle of Trần Quốc Hoàn Street to widen it, he said.

The taxi parking lot on Trường Sơn Street is one of the causes of traffic jams in this area, and should be closed, he said.

Some airline officials said they are willing to decrease fares at night and during off-peak hours and consider increasing the number of night flights if they are given discounts on ground services during Tết.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Department of Transport has announced six urgent works would be undertaken to reduce gridlock around the airport.

The department reported it had approved a proposal to widen a section of Cộng Hòa Street in Tân Bình District to reduce traffic congestion.

The 134-metre section, from Alley 2 on Trần Quốc Hoàn Street to the Thăng Long - Cộng Hòa intersection, will be widened from the current 5.5 – 9m to 14.1- 19m.

To be carried out by the city’s Urban Transport Management Department No.1, the work would cost VNĐ141.8 billion (US$6.3 million), Nguyễn Vĩnh Ninh, its director, said.

Seventeen houses would be repossessed with the owners getting combined compensation of VNĐ113 billion ($5 million), he said.

Construction is expected to begin this quarter, he added. — VNS




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