As the risk of traffic congestion is expected to increase significantly ahead of the Lunar New Year (Tet), traffic police units in Ho Chi Minh City are preparing to cope with the situation, especially at the city’s entrances.
Local authorities anticipate that over one million bus passengers and hundreds of thousands ofmotorcyclists will leave the southern metropolis for destinations in the Mekong Delta and southeast region for the national holiday, placing extreme traffic pressure on major routes.
A similar situation is also expected at the end of the festive period, when people rush back to the city for work.
The Lunar New Year begins on February 16 but preparation and celebration often take place one week before and after the date.
Nguyen Ngoc Thua, director of the Mien Tay (Western) Bus Station, expressed concern over potential disorder at the facility during peak periods surrounding the holiday.
To prepare for all scenarios, the bus station has asked competent authorities to allow transport businesses to be proactive in preparing additional high-quality buses to meet the rising demand.
Nguyen Hoang Huy, director of the Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station, stated that he has mobilized around the clock personnel to ensure traffic safety and order within the venue.
If congestion occurs on nearby streets, employees at the facility will coordinate with traffic police to curb the situation, Huy added.
The Mien Tay Bus Station, located in Binh Tan District, accommodates buses traveling to localities in the Mekong Delta, while the Mien Dong, situated in Binh Thanh District, serves vehicles traveling to provinces located east of Ho Chi Minh City.
|Serious congestion near the Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
According to Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee, the agency is working with the municipal Department of Transport, as well as authorities in neighboring Dong Nai and Tien Giang Provinces, to reorganize routes at the entrances of the southern hub.
Tuong also suggested that tollgates at local BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects be shut down if serious gridlock occurs.
A series of congestion hotspots have emerged along routes between Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces over the past years.
Rach Mieu Bridge, which connects Tien Giang and Ben Tre Provinces, is particularly susceptible to bottlenecks on the Ho Chi Minh City-Mekong Delta route.
On the afternoon of January 27, a truck broke down in the middle of the bridge, forcing traffic police to close half the bridge until the truck could be moved.
Within 15 minutes of the incident occuring, vehicles had already lined up five kilometers on both ends of the bridge.
According to Tran Van Bon, director of the Tien Giang Department of Transport, most traffic jam hotspots in the province are situated at local bridges, including Ruou, My Quy, Sao, and An Cu.
|An expansion project is carried out at a section of National Highway 60 near Rach Mieu Bridge. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The Than Cuu Nghia Roundabout is another regular victim of congestion as it is situated near the toll station of the Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong Expressway, Bon said.
Dong Tam, an intersection between the road leading to the expressway and National Highway 1, which is usually congested on weekends, is also at serious risk of heavy traffic jams during the Tet holiday.
The Tien Giang transport department has submitted multiple proposals to the Ministry of Transport to solve current problems, including building new flyovers and expanding bridges, roads, and roundabouts.
However, a majority of the measures are not expected to be completed prior to Tet, said Bon.
In the meantime, local traffic police will focus on directing vehicles and controlling traffic to minimize the risk of gridlock, the official added.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport has been preparing for any possible scenarios that could lead to congestion along major routes.
All traffic police units will be ready to control traffic and direct vehicles to alternative routes if a serious traffic jam is to occur, according to Ngo Hai Duong, head of the city’s Road Infrastructure Management and Exploitation Division.