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|Vehicles inch along a road leading to HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất Airport on April 23, well before the start of the long national-holiday weekened.-Photo thanhnien.vn|
On Monday afternoon thousands of vehicles were stuck on Bach Dang and Truong Son streets up to Lang Cha Ca roundabout for hours, causing traffic to spill over into nearby streets like Cong Hoa, Hoang Van Thu, and Tran Quoc Hoan.
Motorbikes clambered on to the pavements as usual, worsening the situation.
Hoang Mai of Binh Tan District told Thanh Nien (young people) newspaper that the traffic did not ease up until 8pm.
“As the holiday draws closer people will be rushing to the airport, and it surely will be worse.”
According to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the transport department, roads near the airport are traffic hotspots since they are also gateways to south-eastern and south-western provinces.
The number of vehicles using these roads is increasing but traffic infrastructure is not keeping pace, he said.
A number of works to reduce congestion will be undertaken in the area in the next couple of years.
But out of a planned 15, only eight have been approved or begun so far, with one, the flyover on Truong Son and the road connecting Tan Son Nhat – Binh Loi and the outer beltway (including Hong Ha, Bach Dang and Pham Van Dong streets) has been completed.
The first stage of an N-shaped flyover at the Nguyen Thai Son-Nguyen Kiem roundabout in Go Vap District near the airport has opened to traffic, and the rest of it is expected to be completed some time this year.
Other plans include expanding and upgrading Hoang Minh Giam, Hoang Hoa Tham, Cong Hoa, Truong Chinh and Tan Ky Tan Quy streets, but are awaiting land acquisition.
“There are many challenges in terms of land and capital [availability] but the city is speeding up work to complete the works on schedule to reduce congestion in this area,” Cuong said.
In the meantime, to regulate traffic and ensure safety during the upcoming holidays, the city has stationed task forces at traffic hotspots near the airport to quickly handle problems and repair sinkages and other damages to streets.
Police officers are diverting traffic during peak hours in Tan Binh, Phu Nhuan and Go Vap districts and imposing severe penalties on people parking illegally on streets.
The chief inspector of the city’s transport department, Tran Quoc Khanh, said the department would monitor Tan Son Nhat Airport, Sai Gon Train Station, and the Eastern and Western bus stations to ensure safety and vehicle quality standards are not violated.
With lots of people travelling during the national holidays, the department will keep an eye out for buses picking them up illegally at non-designated locations, especially around Kinh Duong Vuong Street in Binh Tan District, Dien Bien Phu in Binh Thanh District and Nguyen Thai Binh, Pho Duc Chinh and Vo Van Kiet streets in District 1