Commuters risk lives every day on chaotic northern Vietnam highway

By Giang Chinh   January 26, 2019 | 07:30 pm GMT+7

Many overpasses and residential roads lead directly to National Highway 5; traffic jams, chaos and accidents ensue.

Death traps put pedestrians in Northern Vietnam in constant fear

Highway 5, which connects Hanoi with Hung Yen and Hai Duong provinces and Hai Phong City, has been overloaded for many years. The increasing number of vehicles plying the road has resulted in frequent accidents.

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The overpasses built on the road are not in convenient locations for people living on either side, so they are barely used. Some of overpasses are dangerous because they lead the pedestrians directly into Highway 5.

Nguyen Huu Tien, Secretary of Kim Thanh district's Party Committee in Hai Duong Province, said that in order to reduce traffic accidents and get rid of spontaneous, unofficial crossroads fashioned by locals in the area, the district has repeatedly petitioned the Safety Committee to consider and invest in opening a residential road that runs parallel to the railway and National Highway 5.

This would mean that people not to have to use overpasses that expose them to rush traffic, but the proposal has remained on paper.

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At 2 p.m last Monday, a driver was driving on National Highway 5 from Hai Duong Province to Hanoi when his vehicle plowed into a group of commune officials walking along the edge of the highway. They were returning to work in Kim Thanh District after burning incense at the local martyrs’ cemetery.

Eight died on the spot while eight others suffered severe injuries and are in hospital, one in critical condition.

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Trucks, cars, motorbikes and bicycles steer away from one another at the turn to Tan Tien commune in An Duong district, Hai Phong.

Many local roads connect with National Highway 5, and these are sites of frequent traffic congestion and confusion.

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Khanh, head of Traffic Police Station Ba Hang, Hai Duong Police said: "Over many years, sections of Highway 5 have gravely degraded and become very dangerous for vehicles, while more and more locally-made roads cut across the railway. Locals often cut through traffic paying no heed to laws."

Death traps put pedestrians in Northern Vietnam in constant fear - 4

An unofficial crossroad cuts through the railway track and leads to National Highway 5 without barriers and railway personnel.

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Whenever a train runs by, people and cars congregate at the crossing, encroaching the truck lane.

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Two people cross the road at an opening on National Highway 5.

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Parents, children and others wait at an opening as container trucks pass.

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A woman with a small child, wait for a safe time to got on to the road in in Hai Phong City.

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A man crosses the road as vehicles travel at high speed on Highway 5, passing through An Hung commune, An Duong district, Hai Phong City.

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A big truck runs in the wrong lane on National Highway 5.

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At night, many people in Hai Duong return home from work. They casually cycle in the opposite direction on Highway 5, near the location of the accident that killed eight people last Monday.

Road accidents are a leading cause of deaths in the country, with one person dying almost every hour, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Earlier this month four people died and 16 others were injured in Long An Province when a truck slammed into motorbikes waiting at a traffic light. The 32-year-old driver was found to have been high on liquor and heroin.

 
 
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