River tunnel blocked, traffic chaos as truck hits scaffolding in Saigon

By Son Hoa   October 15, 2018 | 02:41 pm GMT+7

A scaffolding collapse caused by a truck blocked the Saigon River Tunnel Monday morning, causing traffic gridlock for five hours.

The scaffolding was being used in building an overpass running beyond the Saigon River Tunnel, which connects District 1 and District 2, which is home to a large community of expats.

At around 5 a.m. on Monday morning, a truck carrying oranges had taken the tunnel to District 2 when it hit the scaffolding standing about 50 meters ahead of the tunnel’s mouth.

Police had to block the entire tunnel after the accident, causing heavy traffic gridlock on streets that run through and nearby the tunnel.

A scaffolding collapse Monday morning caused heavy traffic jams in downtown HCMC. Photo by Huu Khoa

A scaffolding collapse Monday morning caused heavy traffic jams in downtown HCMC. Photo by Huu Khoa

Thousands of cars and motorbikes were stuck on Vo Van Kiet and Ton Duc Thang streets in District 1, Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh and Mai Chi Tho Street in District 2, from early in the morning until 10 a.m.

All the drivers wanting to use the tunnel had to switch to the Thu Thiem Bridge several kilometers away.

A driver named Chau was stuck for more than an hour. "We have to call our companies to tell them we are going to be late," he said of the solution for him and other stuck travelers.

The scaffolding collapse caused heavy traffic jam for five hours in downtown HCMC. Photo by Huu Khoa

The scaffolding collapse caused heavy traffic jam for five hours in downtown HCMC. Photo by Huu Khoa

Ngo Hai Duong, an official from the city’s transport department, told VnExpress that the cargo truck was higher than the regulated height for the tunnel, which is 4.2 meters.

Police said two passers-by injured in the accident have been admitted to hospital.

The truck driver fled the scene with his truck and police are searching for him based on camera footage taken from the tunnel.

The overpass that is being built will link to a street that runs into the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, which is under construction to become the new financial and cultural hub of HCMC in District 2.

The overpass. Photo by Huu Khoa

An overpass is under construction over the Saigon River Tunnel. Photo by Huu Khoa

Opened in late 2011, Thu Thiem is the only river tunnel in Vietnam and the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. It is 1.49 kilometers (less than one mile) long, 33 meters wide and nine meters high with six lanes aside from two emergency exit lanes.

More than 47,000 cars and 230,000-270,000 motorbikes use the tunnel each day.

 
 
go to top