|Chợ Gạo Canal in Tiền Giang Province’s Chợ Gạo District. The province is upgrading the canal this year to improve waterway traffic. – Photo sggp.org.vn|
TIỀN GIANG – Tiền Giang Province is spending over VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$58 million) to upgrade Chợ Gạo Canal, one of the Mekong Delta’s most important waterways.
The province is establishing a steering committee for land clearance for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2023.
Covering nearly 30 hectares of land, the project will dredge and widen 9.85 kilometres of the canal’s southern bank and build works to reinforce the bank. Bridges and roads along the canal’s two banks will also be built.
Phạm Văn Trọng, deputy chairman of Tiền Giang People’s Committee, has asked relevant authorities to evaluate the project’s land area, and keep the public well-informed about relocation work.
This is the second phase of the province’s project to upgrade the economically important canal. The first phase of the upgrade project was completed and put into operation in 2015.
The second phase was expected to be carried out in the 2016-2017 period under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) form, but it was suspended due to financial infeasibility.
|The canal has eroded throughout the years, affecting local traffic. – Photo baotintuc.vn|
Since then, many parts of the canal have heavily eroded, affecting nearby local roads and endangering travellers. Some locals have even fallen into the canal, with even a few deaths recorded.
Cao Tấn Hưởng, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Chợ Gạo District, where the canal is located, said that some road parts had completely collapsed, forcing locals to build new roads. Many households were at a high risk of having their homes collapse into the river due to erosion.
Locals and authorities had to section off high-risk areas with poles and ropes.
The canal also suffers from traffic congestion during peak hours, which can affect the quality of transported produce, according to the Management Board of Domestic Waterway Projects. The problem is compounded by sea vessels and container ships occasionally taking a shortcut through the canal.
Chợ Gạo Canal is the key waterway for transporting goods by ship between HCM City and the Mekong Delta region. Nearly 1,100 vessels travel along the canal every day. – VNS