Construction works for a tunnel and roundabout at the intersection of Nguyen Van Linh Street and Nguyen Huu Tho Street in District 7 started in June 2020.
Originally planned to be completed within two years, they are only half finished.
“The works were meant to avoid traffic jams, but they only made the traffic jams worse because they haven’t been finished for three years now,” said Nguyen Dang, 40, as he was stuck at the intersection one morning in late August.
He was heading downtown and got stuck in a long line of motorcycles, cars and trucks.
A tunnel and roundabout construction project at the intersection of Nguyen Van Linh and Nguyen Huu Tho streets in HCMC District 7, late August. Photo by VnExpress/ Dinh Van
The tunnel is under construction on Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard and is just over 40% complete, with the site filled with machinery and construction materials blocking traffic.
“There are days when it takes nearly two hours to travel less than 10 km from Nha Be District to District 1,” Dang said.
He said that after escaping the traffic jam at the intersection, drivers face another one at Kenh Te Bridge towards District 4.
He could take Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard to District 8 and cross the Nguyen Van Cu Bridge to get to work, but the journey would be much longer, he said.
There is only one alternative route from District 7 to the city center: via Huynh Tan Phat Street, Tan Thuan Bridge and Nguyen Tat Thanh Street.
From District 8, one can take Duong Ba Trac Street and cross one of four bridges – Kenh Xang, Nguyen Van Cu, Cha Va and Y – but traffic data from the city’s Department of Transportation shows that they all exceeded their planned capacity.
The Kenh Te Bridge – between Districts 7 and 4 – was widened by two meters in 2019 by reducing space for pedestrians at a cost of VND90 billion ($3.75 million), but remains insufficient for the large number of vehicles it manages each day.
As the number of vehicles continues to increase day by day, other projects to facilitate travel between the south and the center remain on paper.
Traffic jam on Nguyen Huu Tho Street, near the intersection with Nguyen Van Linh Street, in HCMC District 7, on August 28, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Six years ago, the city planned to build Nguyen Khoai Street connecting districts 7, 4 and 1 at a cost of more than 2.8 trillion dong.
But the project did not progress due to lack of funding.
There are also proposals to widen Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 and build Binh Tien Bridge between Districts 6 and 8 and Thu Thiem 4 Bridge between Thu Duc Town and District 7, but the city does not yet have specific plans to begin work.
Luong Minh Phuc, director of the HCMC Traffic Construction and Investment Management Board, said traffic pressure in the south is “huge” as roads there are connected to ports and urban development has been rapid in recent years with hundreds of new apartment buildings. future.
He said the Nguyen Van Linh – Nguyen Huu Tho Tunnel project was behind schedule due to problems in moving electricity, water, telecommunications and other infrastructure systems.
But authorities have “fundamentally fixed the problem” and work is expected to resume in October, he said.
As for other projects awaiting funding, the Ministry of Transportation said that with the National Assembly granting HCMC more administrative autonomy in June, it could now carry them out in the build-transfer format and is working on the procedures for investment.
A map of routes connecting HCMC town center to its southern part. Graphics by Thanh Huyen, Dang Le