|HCM City’s Thủ Thiêm Tunnel is often congested since the number of vehicles has tripled in the last five years.— VNS Photo Linh Hoàng|
HCM CITY — Roads in HCM City’s east are now congested since there has been a surge in the number of vehicles there while work on new roads and bridges is tardy or stalled due to lack of funds.
People living in districts 2, 9 and Thủ Đức (eastern part of HCM City) and the neighbouring provinces of Đồng Nai and Bình Dương often use through three major roads to travel to the city’s downtown: the Hà Nội Highway, Mai Chí Thọ and Phạm Văn Đồng Street.
All three constantly suffer from traffic congestion.
On the Hà Nội Highway for instance, traffic is often stuck for up to two hours because it is used by large trucks and sees many accidents.
Mai Chí Thọ Street and the Thủ Thiêm Tunnel too are very congested these days with the number of vehicles increasing by three times in the last five years. The tunnel is now used by 45,000 automobiles and 230,000 motorbikes every day.
The newly built Phạm Văn Đồng road is extremely crowded during rush hour daily.
Many urban transport experts suggest that more bridges should be built to ease the traffic coming into downtown from the east.
According to the city Department of Transport, the transport master plan approved by the Government in 2007 and amended in 2013 has 21 new bridges and tunnels to meet transport needs.
So far 14 have been built. Of the remaining seven three link the Thủ Thiêm Urban Area with districts 1, 4 and 7.
“According to the city’s transport master plan, all seven bridges must be completed by 2020, but the fact is they need to wait for funding,” Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper quoted Nguyễn Văn Tám, deputy director of the transport department, as saying.
The Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge and the Bến Thành – Suối Tiên metro line are under construction and preliminary work on the Thủ Thiêm 3 and 4 bridges are under way for construction under the build-transfer model.
“We must build Thủ Thiêm 3 and 4 bridges to meet the traffic demand,” Bùi Xuân Cường, director of the department, said.
Nguyễn Thanh Toàn, deputy director of the city Architecture and Master Plan Department, said the master plan for connecting the downtown and Thủ Thiêm areas, including bridges and backbone roads, have been completed, but funds are lacking.
“Funding for infrastructure mostly comes from the Government and ODA while for urban development it comes from many different sources. This causes a mismatch between traffic infrastructure and urban development.”
He also pointed out that transport infrastructure in District 2 is not optimal, with many roads not being expanded, built or linked as envisaged in the master plan.
“It causes traffic congestion in many places.
“Therefore, high-rise buildings must be licensed based on current transport infrastructure and not master plan.”
In the long term, the transport master plan should come with a road map spelling out what infrastructure would be built when, he added. — VNS