A national highway section in the south-central Vietnamese province of Phu Yen is littered with countless giant potholes now blamed for causing dozens of accidents along the road.
Over the past ten days, several trucks and buses have been put into dangerous situations caused by the potholes on the strip of National Highway 1 running through the province’s Tuy An District, Bui Van Thanh, chairman of the district's administration, said, adding that many motorcyclists have also fallen off their vehicles.
He attributed the problem to the massive potholes all along the roadway.
Some parts of the highway are so severely damaged that vehicles are forced to travel at a snail’s pace to avoid crashes.
The issue is drastically exacerbated after downpours, as the holes are filled with water and thus more difficult to discern.
Tran Duy Khanh, a truck driver, recalled an accident along the road on the evening of November 18, when his vehicle tipped over on its side and was seriously damaged.
“It was raining and water was everywhere. There were more potholes than I had expected. My truck safely passed the first two holes and the accident happened when I hit the third one,” Khanh elaborated.
The driver said he had to spend more than VND100 million (US$4,326) on fixing the truck, adding that those who manage and developed the road had not compensated him.
Local residents as well as authorities are extremely worried about the problem, said Chairman Thanh.
“I have made countless phone calls and sent documents to the provincial Department of Transport, asking them to work out a proper solution,” Thanh stated.
The highway section has only been open to traffic for three years, he added.
Sluggish repair work
On October 8, the Ministry of Transport ordered the developer of the road section to expand and upgrade it as potholes had already appeared on the surface.
The process, however, was rather sluggish, which resulted in even larger holes, said Nguyen Thanh Tri, director of the Phu Yen transport department.
Tri and his officials have worked with the Thang Long Project Management Board, the developer, urging them to expedite the repair work.
Meanwhile, Vu Ngoc Duong, Thang Long’s deputy general director, blamed the situation on frequent downpours, stressing that bad weather had negatively impacted their efforts.
“We are trying our best to finish fixing the highway section by the end of December,” Duong continued.
Thang Long is allowed to use about VND50 billion ($2,164) from the state budget to repair the 10-kilometer section, he stated ensuring that the street would be in top conditions following the process.