Overpass fails to overcome gridlock alert near Saigon airport

By Quynh Tran   July 28, 2017 | 05:05 pm GMT+7

Millions of dollars have been spent on an overpass billed as a traffic angel. But it has not helped to clear clogged streets.

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This is the traffic situation on Truong Son Street, which leads to Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam’s biggest airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Truong Son Street usually receives high traffic volumes from Pham Van Dong and Bach Dang streets, so gridlock has been the story of its life for years. "Traffic will paralyze every single time there are more trucks or cars than usual on the streets near Tan Son Nhat. Today it takes me more than 40 minutes to go from Thu Duc District to Tan Binh District, twice the normal time,” said a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver named Nam.

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Early this month, a new overpass costing VND242 billion ($10.6 million) was opened over Truong Son Street, allowing cars and buses to go straight to the domestic and international terminals. But the ugly truth here is that it has not helped to ease the gridlock.

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“Only people who need to go to the airport use the overpass, but everyone else on Truong Son Street is still stuck,” a local named Thanh Thao said.

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This man had no chance of reaching the overpass, so he decided to walk to the airport.

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“I transport goods near Tan Son Nhat airport every day, but today it's taken almost an hour to move four kilometers, said truck driver Phan Van Che.”

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These drivers have resorted to the sidewalk.

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Another overpass costing VND504 billion is being built near Tan Son Nhat. But Bui Xuan Cuong, the director of Saigon’s transport department, agrees that these bridges will not solve the gridlock in the area, saying that the city has to do more to upgrade traffic infrastructure around the airport, which serves 25 million passengers each year.