Roadwork brings Saigon to standstill

By Thanh Nguyen   December 22, 2016 | 02:57 am PT
Construction barriers have added insult to injury in a city already plagued by gridlock.

Data from Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport showed that, by mid-September, the city had installed 91 construction barriers on 39 inner-city routes, making the city's serious congestion problems worse.


Go Vap District's Nguyen Kiem Street is one of the most-affected roads. Nguyen Van Hien, a street vendor, said the traffic began to get out of hand in August, when a project to build two overpasses designed to reduce gridlock around Tan Son Nhat Airport kicked off.


“In the past, we hardly had any traffic jams, but now they happen frequently. When it rains, the water won't drain and leaves a foul smell,” Hien said.


Nguyen Thi Nhi, another vendor, said that though there have been no accidents, locals feel anxious about stepping out of their homes. “We expect the construction to finish soon so the road will be as clean and safe as it used to be,” Nhi said.


Motorcyclists inch along Nguyen Oanh Street in Go Vap District.


According to those living along the street, the road was narrow enough before construction barriers went up in late October. Now collisions occur between vehicles more frequently.


Scooters line up on Phan Van Tri Street.


Commuters expressed frustration about having to inch along the narrow road.


Two four-wheel vehicles traveling in the opposite directions manage to jam Phu Huu Street in District 5.


“The road is so small that each time a collision occurs, severe congestion follows,” griped cyclo driver Nguyen Van Tai.


Kim Anh, a grocer on Trang Tu Street said that since construction barriers appeared, her goods remain permanently covered in dust. "I support road upgrades, but the barriers should be lifted as soon as the project is finished,” she said.


A barrier blocks the entrance to Kim Bien Market in District 5. Many fearless traders have taken to hanging goods directly on the barrier and conducting business under the swinging cranes.

Photos by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

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