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High-rises to blame for congestion in Ho Chi Minh City: transport official

Updated : 01/11/2017 17:32 GMT + 7

A transport official has stated that traffic congestion in Ho Chi Minh City cannot be blamed solely on the transport department, attributing the issue to the mushrooming of skyscrapers.

According to a leader from the municipal Department of Transport, the construction of high-rise office buildings, apartments, or shopping centers does not necessarily require the opinion of the agency.

However, the local transport sector is now being criticized for increasingly alarming traffic jams across the southern hub.

Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, which connects Tan Son Nhat International Airport with the downtown area, was originally designed for alleviating gridlock, the official stated, adding that it is now one of the most seriously congested hotspots in the city.

Traffic flow on those sections lined with high buildings has been significantly slower, creating bottlenecks at any time, he continued.

A similar situation has also been recorded on other major streets, namely Hoan Van Thu in Phu Nhuan District, Cong Hoa in Tan Binh District, Nguyen Dinh Chieu in District 3, Cach Mang Thang Tam in District 10, and several others.

“Many of our solutions for reducing traffic jams have been neutralized by the construction of new buildings and shopping malls,” the official elaborated.

According to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the city’s transport department, the absence of a concurrence between infrastructure and transport development has resulted in severe congestion.

Multiple projects in high-rise and residential areas have been approved while local streets remain the same.

The planning of such constructions did not take into consideration their compatibility with nearby infrastructure, including roads, bus stations, and others, Cuong complained.

He added that the transport department could only voice its opinions after the buildings were completed, which is too late.

According to Ngo Viet Nam Son, a Ho Chi Minh City-based architect, the transport department has been helpless against the rising rate of congestion due to a backward administrative procedure.

In foreign countries, a construction is designed with the actual quality of nearby infrastructure taken into account, Son said, adding that many projects in Vietnam have been green-lighted based on the future development of local infrastructure.

Competent agencies do not coordinate effectively in the execution of those construction projects, which exacerbates the problem, the expert added.

“The development of traffic infrastructure must come before the construction of buildings. High-rises should not be built along streets where traffic jams regularly take place,” Son asserted.

Local authorities must be determined in fixing this backward issue in order to curb traffic congestion, he said.