HCMC begins 14-month project to upgrade flood-prone street

By Huu Cong   October 3, 2019 | 06:58 pm PT
HCMC begins 14-month project to upgrade flood-prone street
Motorbike drivers wade in the flooded Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District in a downpour on September 14, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Subsided sections of HCMC’s Nguyen Huu Canh Street, notorious for frequent flooding, will be elevated in an upgrade expected to take 14 months.

The 3.2-km (2-mile)-long street, which connects the downtown District 1 with District 2, home to a large expat community, is now on the list of the most flooded areas in the city. Experts have blamed its subsidence on a series of real estate projects with thousands of apartments that have sprung up along either side of the street.

The VND473 billion ($20.4 million) project will be started on Saturday to elevate the surface of the street in some sections that are severely subsided while other parts are kept at the same height to ensure the water drainage system works well.

The 500-meter-long section from an underpass in front of The Manor building to the Nguyen Huu Canh Overpass that suffered the heaviest subsidence will be lifted by between 50 cm to 1.2 m.

Nguyen Vinh Ninh, deputy head of the HCMC Management Board of Investment and Construction of Traffic Projects, the project’s investor, said a new water drainage system and lighting system as well as other technical facilities will be added to ensure traffic safety and aesthetics of the urban landscape.

Adding tree and grass cover will be part of the project, Ninh said. There are currently 459 trees along the street, but 60 of them, which are stunted, will be cut down and replaced with new ones, helping increase tree and grass coverage by 20 percent, he said.

The project will also remove overhead wires, including power and telecommunications cables, and place them under the sidewalk. Some downgraded sections on bridges that run along the street will also be fixed.

The project investor will help road users choose appropriate routes during its implementation and strive to finish the project as soon as possible. The investor will also cooperate with local police officers to regulate traffic during rush hours, Ninh said.

Built in 1997 and opened to traffic in 2002, the VND420 billion ($18.1 million) Nguyen Huu Canh Street carried high hopes that it would improve traffic flow in Ho Chi Minh City.

But not long after its opening, the street subsided and began getting inundated every time it rains.

Earlier, the city had signed a rental deal worth VND14.2 billion ($608,400) with Quang Trung Industry Group Joint Stock Company to install a water pump on the street to prevent flooding, but the situation hasn’t improved much.

HCMC, a city of 13 million people, frequently suffers flooding from river tides and heavy rains, and scenes of people getting stuck or wading in deep waters has become increasingly common. Rapid construction and poor investment in integrated system are usually blamed for the problem.

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