HCMC to spend $20 million fixing flood-prone street

By Huu Cong   March 19, 2019 | 05:27 pm GMT+7
HCMC to spend $20 million fixing flood-prone street
People struggle on the flooded Nguyen Huu Canh Street during high tides on September 21, 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

Nguyen Huu Canh, a major HCMC street that experiences frequent flooding, will undergo a comprehensive 14-month renovation.

Work will start this June on fixing the foundation and the surface, and on upgrading the water drainage system on the 3.2-kilometer (2-mile) long Nguyen Huu Canh Street, which links Binh Thanh District with the central District 1 and District 2, which is home to a large expat community.

The surface of the street will be lifted and its sidewalk will be retiled.

As for the drainage system, some parts will be kept the same, some will be upgraded and most of it will be removed to build brand new ones.

The project, expected to cost VND473 billion ($20.4 million), 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.

To make sure that its impact on daily commuting is limited, but the upgrade work makes good progress, the project will be divided into small parts, some of which will be done during the night.

The city will either set up barriers or ban vehicles from entering the street as required during the project duration.

Built in 1997 and opened to traffic in 2002, the VND420-billion Nguyen Huu Canh Street carried high hopes that it would boost traffic flow in Ho Chi Minh City.

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

These days, the street is on the list of the most flooded areas in the city. It was one of the worst hit when torrential rains triggered by storm Usagi poured down on Saigon last November.

Experts have blamed the subsidence on a series of real estate projects with thousands of apartments that have sprung up along either side of the street.

In 2017, the city hired the Quang Trung Industry Joint Stock Company, a private firm, to pump flood water from the street. But the two sides are locked in a payment dispute. The company wants the city to pay VND24 billion ($1.03 million) per year to hire its pumping machine, but the city is only willing to pay VND10 billion.

At a meeting in August last year, Laurent Umans, First Secretary Water Management and Climate Change of the Netherlands Embassy in Hanoi, said it is possible that a major part of the city can lie below sea level in 50 years, turning into a swamp.

Rapid development that goes against the natural terrain of the city and overpopulation are among major reasons that has caused frequent flooding in Vietnam’s biggest city, experts said at the meeting.

 
 
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