Projects to ease traffic jam sluggishly implemented in HCMC

Rampant traffic jam keeps occurring in the entrance gateways to HCMC, especially areas surrounding Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Mien Dong (East) Coach Station in days near Tet holiday every year. However projects meant for reducing the traffic jam have been stagnant due to complicated procedures.
New Mien Dong Coach Station in District 9 (Photo: SGGP)
New Mien Dong Coach Station in District 9 (Photo: SGGP)

The project to solve traffic congestion in Tan Son Nhat Airport was implemented in 2016 but it has not been completed yet. According to the plan by the Ministry of Transport, Tan Son Nhat will handle about 25 million passengers in 2020 but the number surpasses 41 million now.

Roads leading to the airport have been overloaded for the last many years and severe traffic gridlock keeps recurring near Tet. Worst congestion has been seen in Lang Cha Ca Roundabout and Truong Son, Tran Quoc Hoan, Cong Hoa, Hoang Van Thu and Truong Chinh streets. During peak hour, these streets are heavily crowded with vehicles.

In 2016, HCMC People’s Council decided the investment polity of a road to connect Tran Quoc Hoan and Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh District in efforts to reduce traffic congestion. Still while relevant procedures were underway, the Ministry of Transport decided to change the detailed plan of Tan Son Nhat Airport in the phase until 2020 and vision till 2030. That includes the plan to expand T1 and T2 Terminal and build T3 Terminal to meet the travel demand of 50 million passengers a year.

The adjusted plan will increase traffic pressure for areas around the airport. Hence the road project has also been changed according to the airport plan. Specifically, the four 4km long road will include six lanes measuring 29.5-48m in width instead of only 4 lanes measuring 20-22m initially. Construction will be from 2020 to 2024.

The change increases the total investment capital from VND1,402 billion (US$60.64 million) to VND4,850 billion ($209.55 million) to build the project comprising the tunnel under Tran Quoc Hoan-Phan Thuc Duyet crossroads and Truong Chinh-Tan Ky Tan Quy crossroads. Of the total funds, VND2,640 billion is for site clearance, compensation and resettlement.

The Management Board on Traffic Work Construction Investment of HCMC said that the project is still waiting for site clearance to start construction.

Dr. Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy architect chief of HCMC, said that it is specially needed to quickly and synchronously implement projects surrounding the airport to ease traffic pressure and overloading in these areas.

Meantime, the project of new Mien Dong (East) Coach Station in District 9 is expected to tackle traffic jam in the existing Mien Dong Coach Station in Binh Thanh District. The new station has been built and ready for operation but it has not been able to run because of procedure problems.

According to Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (SAMCO) which is the investor of the projet, the new station has not come into operation on schedule because of legal issue. Specifically, the Ministry of Construction has fully inspected the project but yet to issue the project acceptance document.

In addition, SAMCO is waiting for the city People’s Committee to instruct relevant agencies to permit it to sign a land lease contract at the new station to provide services supporting transport activities.

The company said that internal roads and parking lot infrastructure in the new coach station have basically been built and ready to receive vehicles for a month.

Breaking ground in April, 2017, the new station covers 16 hectares in Binh Thang Ward, Di An Town, Binh Duong Province and Long Binh Ward, District 9, HCMC. The first phase of the project was scheduled to be built at the end of 2017. Still site clearance delayed the open to traffic time to August 2019. At present, the project gets stuck with legal procedures to come into operation.

The Department of Transport said that under the first phase of the project, about 29 fixed coach routes from HCMC to Quang Tri and northern provinces will be removed from the existing to the new station with an average of 40 trips a day.