Roadwork dust chokes inner Ho Chi Minh City

By Duy Tran   September 7, 2016 | 03:19 am PT
Dust billowing off an unfinished road has turned a residential area into a desert.

Work to upgrade a highway in Ho Chi Minh City has been delayed for two months, and residents claim the dust churned up along the unfinished road is threatening their health.


Kinh Duong Vuong Road in Binh Tan District to the west of Ho Chi Minh City has been covered in dust for the past two months. The dust is very fine and gets everywhere, according to residents living on the side of the road.


As the main link between National Highway 1A and provinces to the west, Kinh Duong Vuong Road carries a lot of traffic, mostly passenger coaches and trucks. Residents said an unusual amount of dust from the road surface billows up to 30 meters into the air. 


The dust has become irritating to both locals and commuters. Residents said the dust is unbearable, especially on hot and sunny days.


“I try to hold my breath when I drive along the 3-4 kilometer stretch long. I can’t imagine how the residents living along the road can put up with this,” said Trinh Duc Tam, a passer-by who couldn’t hold his breath until the end of the road and had to park his motorcycle before continuing his journey.


An old lady has to use a wet towel to cover her face as there is no way to keep the dust out of the house. “When it rains, the road is deep under water, but this is what it is like on sunny days,” said the old lady.


A shop owner has to cover his goods in plastic. He said that his shop has been coated in dust for two months, and his business is on a downward spiral.


Other residents along Kinh Duong Vuong Road also said that business has been sluggish because customers don't want to venture out there.


“Everyone is complaining, loudly and bitterly. All we want to know is when the construction work will be finished,” said Cong, a shop owner, who is thinking about moving his business.


Those forced to live in these conditions have to resort to face masks and thick canvas to keep the dust out.


The road project, costing an estimated VND730 billion ($33 million), has been suspended for the past two months as the city’s transport authorities decide whether to raise the road level. Ho Chi Minh City is trying to raise roads in low parts of the city to help keep flooding at bay.

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