Heavy traffic on Kênh Tẻ Bridge which connects HCM City’s districts 4 and 7. HCM City needs an elevated road system to tackle worsening traffic congestion. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh
HCM CITY — HCM City should build an integrated elevated road system to tackle traffic congestion as land for transport in the inner city has become scarce, experts have urged.
While the metro system and other transport projects are still in progress, ring roads and elevated roads have almost been forgotten after 15 years of planning, experts said.
Under a plan approved by the Prime Minister, HCM City was expected to complete construction of a total of five elevated roads with length of 70.7km, which would be connected in high traffic areas. However, since the planning in 2005, no elevated road has been built.
Elevated roads and ring roads play a major role in easing traffic congestion as an inner elevated system creates a network connecting the city centre with airports, seaports and gateways.
Dr. Trần Quang Thắng, director of HCM City Institute of Economics and Management, warned: “The longer the project is delayed, the higher the costs of site clearance will become.”
Dr Vũ Anh Tuấn, director of the Việt Đức Transport Research Centre, said that priority should be given to elevated roads to deal with traffic gridlock. “Without an elevated road network, congestion will worsen even though the city has tried to expand existing road networks or build new urban roads. Besides, expanding existing roads will result in high costs for site clearance compensation.”
HCM City can learn from other major cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta or Manila in building elevated roads. It is estimated that an elevated road system can improve average travel speed by 10-15 per cent, he said.
Prof. Hà Ngọc Trường, vice president of the HCM City Port and Bridge Association, said congestion is especially worse at intersections in big cities.
“Building more flyovers and tunnels can only reduce pressure for a short time. For the long term, the construction of elevated roads is extremely urgent but seems to be neglected. Without elevated roads, it is difficult for the city to get rid of congestion,” he said.
Dr Võ Kim Cương, former chief architect of HCM City, said it was urgent to build elevated roads but the city must have attractive policies to encourage private investment to reduce the burden on the State budget.
Dr. Trần Quang Thắng, director of HCM City Institute of Economics and Management, said that most investors want to exchange infrastructure for land, but the land fund of the city is limited. So it is difficult to call for investment in elevated roads.
“The city needs to focus on urgent projects in traffic hotspots to resolve congestion,” he noted.
Speaking at a recent meeting, Võ Văn Hoan, vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, asked departments and agencies to draw up plans to build elevated roads.
The works include those along Nhiêu Lộc Canal, Hà Nội Highway and Võ Văn Kiệt Boulevard, and from Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport to Bình Lợi.
Hoan asked the departments of Planning and Investment, and Transport, and the HCM City Management Board of Investment and Construction of Traffic Projects to mobilise investment, mainly private, to execute traffic projects in the city.
In 2016, the Transport Department planned to build an elevated highway connecting Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport with the city centre to ease traffic congestion on overloaded airport roads but the plan has not been implemented.
Many roads in the city have become more congested, including Nguyễn Đình Chiểu and Trần Quốc Thảo (District 3), Nguyễn Thái Học (District 1) and Bến Vân Đồn (District 4). — VNS