80 power poles left in the middle of Saigon street

By Dinh Van   March 23, 2021 | 09:00 pm PT
80 power poles left in the middle of Saigon street
Power poles stand in the middle of To Hieu Street in HCMC's Tan Phu District, March 22, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van.
A power system that failed to go underground after roadwork has left 80 power poles obstructing traffic on a street in HCMC's Tan Phu District.

The poles have been standing along a 1.5 km section in the middle of To Hieu Street in Hiep Tan Ward.

They lean to one side and are topped messily with a mass of electrical wires. At the foot of each pole is a framework of bamboo sticks painted in red and white as a warning sign.

The entire section where the poles stand is a site of heavy traffic jams during peak hours, and the risk of accidents is high.

Son Thi Nau, a local in the area, said the power poles are a real threat.

"Every now and then there will be motorbike accidents involving those poles and it is not uncommon that cars hit the poles when drivers try to make a U-turn."

Nau, who runs a street-front lottery store, said the poles also cause difficulties for her business, with most people driving past her store looking at those poles as a barrier.

Le Viet Toan, chairman of the Hiep Tan Ward, said the situation arose from a road innovation project.

The project was carried out a year ago to fill up the Hiep Tan Canal, around 1.5 km long, to expand To Hieu Street.

Before the project, the 80 power poles stood along the sidewalk of To Hiep, but now, with the street widened, they are around two meters away from it. Local authorities are collaborating with the power company to send the cables underground, removing the need for all the poles.

However, until today, this has not happened because two households have refused to let authorities put two electrical substations in front of their properties.

"Both households operate restaurants and they argue that the substations would affect their businesses," Toan said.

Local authorities will continue talking to them, he added.

Bui Trung Kien, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation (EVN HCMC), said all steps to lay the cables underground along To Hieu Street have been prepared and the work can be done within a month.

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