In 2016, Ho Chi Minh City drew up plans for a series of projects in the Tan Son Nhat International Airport area, an important traffic hub that connects with downtown areas of several districts like Tan Binh, Tan Phu and Go Vap.
Among the projects were overpasses over the Truong Son Road, the Nguyen Thai Son-Nguyen Kiem intersection and expansion of the Hoang Minh Giam Road, which were all completed within three years and helped relieve traffic congestion in the area.
But several other projects have suffered repeated delays, including a road to connect the major streets of Cong Hoa and Tran Quoc Hoan. This 4 km road with an investment of over VND4.8 trillion ($205.1 million), has been delayed by land clearance issues, mostly related to military land.
About 15 km away, traffic at the Cat Lai Port area in Thu Duc City has also been a headache for years. Since 2016, HCMC has worked on the first phase of a My Thuy Intersection project, which includes overpasses, underground tunnels and road expansions to reduce congestion and increase transport capabilities.
In the second phase, three new bridges are supposed to be built, but these have also been delayed due by land clearance issues. Other expansion projects for roads like Nguyen Duy Trinh and Nguyen Thi Dinh have not gotten off the ground, worsening congestion in the area.
The Ring Road 2, a vital traffic route supposed to relieve downtown traffic congestion, has found it difficult to become a “closed loop” for the last 15 years, though 50km of the 64km route has been completed. Parts of the remaining 14km have received any investment and some parts are still under construction.
Meanwhile, the Ring Road 3 section running through HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Long An was planned 11 years ago, but construction is only slated to begin mid-2023.
HCMC’s first metro line, the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line, was approved 15 years prior. After many delays, it is 90 percent complete and is expected to be completed at the end of 2023.
The city’s second metro line – Ben Thanh-Tham Luong – has had its construction delayed until 2025, 10 years after the original plan. Other urban railway projects are also caught up in several difficulties regarding funds and procedures.
Five highways with a total length of 277 km have been planned to facilitate connections between HCMC and surrounding localities and regions. Of this, only 131 km – the HCMC-Dau Giay and HCMC-Trung Luong highways – have been constructed; and even these need upgrades and expansion.
Bui Van Quan, head of the HCMC Goods Transport Association, said traffic jams would greatly impact businesses were focusing on post-Covid recovery. Projects that have been delayed for years therefore need to be quickly dealt with, as the longer they stay incomplete, the more additional costs there will be, he added.
A representative of the Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority of HCMC (TCIP) said land clearance issues are the toughest challenges facing several infrastructure projects in the city and causing the delays. The TCIP should, therefore, cooperate with localities,, sort out and finalize land clearance plans for delayed projects, the rep added.
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