HCMC faces traffic challenges

Traffic jam just occurred in some main roads and near some schools, hospitals and trade centers in Ho Chi Minh City in the past. However it has become a permanent issue in several areas now and worse with hours-long congestions being seen recently.

Traffic jam in Pham Hung Street, District 8, HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Tran Thi Dieu Huong whose house is located in Nguyen Kiem Street, Phu Nhuan District said that a year ago she went to work at 7:30 a.m. Now she has to depart 15 minutes sooner to avoid traffic gridlock in Hoang Minh Giam Street, section in front of Gia Dinh Park.

Travel time on the about one kilometer road is 10 minutes longer than before to touch 15-20 minutes.

Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Planning and Architecture Nguyen Hoai Nam said that traffic congestion has more and more worsened in the area.

Pho Quang Street, connecting with Hoang Minh Giam Street, suffers traffic jam during peak time every day. Vehicles wait in long lines to inch by inch in the road.

The issue has occurred not only inner the city but also in most entrance gateways to the city. It takes residents in suburban areas more time to travel to their offices. Many hours-long gridlocks have been recorded in these areas recently.

The latest case was on December 30 last year when a traffic jam stretched from Tham Luong Bridge in District 12 to Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh. Traffic police forced to permit motorbikes to travel in automobile lanes, but it still took very long to clear the congestion.

On January 16, Hanoi Highway--the main road linking Thu Duc and District 9 with the city’s center saw a severe traffic jam near Rach Chiec Bridge, where vehicles had to pin down for up to 10 hours.

Thousands of vehicles fell in congestion at 7 a.m. on January 19 at Thu Duc Crossroad because local traffic light system broke down.

In the downtown area, vehicular traffic has been more difficult near Tet holidays because some roads have been fenced to construct the first metro route and a square in front of the city People’s Committee headquarters. In addition, private cars and taxi cabs have parked on road beds to do shopping and pick up passengers.

The Department of Transport has installed ‘No Parking’ boards along many streets but drivers have just turned on parking light to stay for up to an hour.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, official from the HCMC Traffic Safety Committee, said that the number of cars is too many while the distance among intersections and crossroads is too near.

Vo Van Kiet Boulevard has been built with many bridges linking streets along Tau Hu-Ben Nghe, Doi and Te Canals. Many buildings have sprung up along the route together with thousands of new dwellers. However the boulevard’s approach roads have not been appropriately broadened, causing daily traffic jams at many spots in the area.

Cha Va Bridge has been widened to 10 meters but approach roads in District 8 are only 5-6 meter wide creating a bottle neck in the bridge’s foot.

In related news, HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan yesterday criticized the city Department of Transport for traffic jam Hanoi Highway, which has been caused by broken-down traffic light system and illegal parking of trucks that wait to load cargos along the road.

Chairman Quan instructed the department’s director to work with HCMC Police Department and people’s committees in District 2, 9, and Thu Duc to immediately tackle these issues and ensure through vehicular traffic in the highway and surrounding areas. The director must take responsibility to the committee in the time ahead if similar traffic jams continue occuring.

By staff writers – Translated by Hai Mien

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