The suspension bridge crossing the Giăng River in Nghệ An Province, built 33 years ago, has degraded over time. — VNA/VNS Photo
NGHỆ AN — Residents in the central province of Nghệ An have been expressing their concerns about the state of some of the area's older bridges.
According to the provincial Department of Transport, 30 out of 68 bridges in the province were listed as “seriously degraded” and required urgent maintenance.
An inspection in September found broken bridge railings, a lack of barriers, signs and lights, loose bolts and major faults on many suspension bridges.
An accident on October 5 evening that killed five people on a suspension bridge crossing the Giăng River was blamed on driver error as well as the dangerous state of the bridge.
Vice Chairman of Nghệ An's People's Committee Lê Hồng Vinh, who inspected the site of the accident in person, said the narrow bridge had been built more than 33 years ago, and had degraded over time.
Due to provincial funding shortages, local authorities had been unable to build a new one, he said.
Relevant agencies have been instructed to erect additional speed restriction signs at both ends of the bridge and install mirrors and lights, as well as fix the broken railings.
The bridge was built in 1985 and put into use in 1987 under the management of the Nghệ An Provincial Department of Transport.
In 2017, provincial road 533 was upgraded to Highway 46C, and the route, including the bridge, was transferred to Road Administration No.2 under the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam.
A representative of Road Administration No.2 said as soon as it took over the management of the bridge, the administration had asked the Ministry of Transport to allow repairs to the bridge, but the request was not approved.
The bridge had degraded over time, threatening road users' safety, despite the warning signs and seven tonne limit.
Phan Bá Ngọc, chairman of Thanh Liên Commune, said the bridge carried a lot of traffic because it was the only road connecting Phong Thịnh Commune to Thanh Liên Commune, and to the centre of Thanh Chương District.
“The bridge and the path are quite narrow, only enough for a car and a motorcycle to cross at the same time. Additionally, vehicles crossing at high speed cause vibrations because the bridge is too weak and the iron is rusty.”
Local resident Nguyễn Văn Niệm said that for many years, people had felt insecure crossing the suspension bridge because it was very weak and seriously degraded.
“We want the authorities and related departments to assess the bridge and come up with a plan to build a new bridge quickly to ensure safety and avoid tragic accidents." — VNS