National Highway 1 sections to get $8.6 mln upgrade for flood protection

By Cuu Long   November 19, 2019 | 06:02 pm PT
National Highway 1 sections to get $8.6 mln upgrade for flood protection
A National Highway 1 section through Vinh Long Province is flooded due to high tides in September 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long.
VND200 billion ($8.6 million) will be spent on upgrading 26 sections of National Highway 1 in the Mekong Delta to prevent them from getting flooded.

A one-km section that is heavily flooded in Tam Binh District in Vinh Long Province would be prioritized to be fixed first with VND21 billion ($905,000), said Nguyen Van Thanh, head of the Regional Road Management Unit IV.

Ten road sections in Vinh Long, totaling about 7.6 km, are most affected, with water levels at 0.2-0.7 m when flooded. The ten sections will be elevated by 0.6-0.7 meters or so, and the work expected to finish in December, he said.

Capital to fix other road sections running through Hau Giang, Tien Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces will be disbursed in the 2020-2021 period.

Structures like embankments and walls to block high tide would be built to fight flooding in the long-term, said Thanh. The dykes would be built near certain canals and their openings and walls would be built along the national road to separate it from canals and ditches, he said.

"These solutions need to be researched thoroughly because they require large budgets and will impact on the lives of many people." 

Local authorities also need to relocate slums near canals and ditches along the national route, clean up canals and ditches, and build reservoirs in urban areas to prevent flooding when it rains, Thanh added.

National Highway 1 is a 2,360-km long road that runs through 31 Vietnamese localities, starting from the northern province of Lang Son to the southernmost Ca Mau Province. About 480 km of the road runs through the Mekong Delta, connecting the country's rice basket with economic hub Ho Chi Minh City.

In the Mekong Delta, a total road length of 786 kilometers faces the threat of erosion at 562 riverine and coastal points. The delta is losing 500 hectares of land to erosion every year, and this is expected to directly impact on the lives of one million people by 2050, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Overexploitation of groundwater, sand mining and dams upstream the Mekong River have been identified as some of the main causes for erosion and other severe problems plaguing the delta.

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