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Bridge widening project causes serious traffic jams in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, June 03, 2019, 17:03 GMT+7
Bridge widening project causes serious traffic jams in Ho Chi Minh City
A serious traffic jam on Kenh Te Bridge connecting District 7 and District 4 in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The Kenh Te Bridge connecting District 4 and District 7 in Ho Chi Minh City may span less than 800 meters, but it is dubbed the southern metropolis’ longest bridge, given the amount of time commuters have to spend crossing the structure.

Traveling along the 763-meter bridge has recently become a nightmare for local residents because construction works, as part of an expansion project, have occupied a lot of space along the structure.

The construction works would cause severe congestion during rush hour, forcing commuters to spend 30 minutes to an hour traveling through the bridge whenever traffic gets heavy.

Locals thus refer to Kenh Te as the city’s ‘longest bridge.’

Congestion does not only occur on Kenh Te but also on Nguyen Huu Tho and Khanh Hoi, the two streets that lead to the bridge from each of its sides.

Traffic police officers are mobilized to control the traffic, but their efforts would go in vain.

The expansion started in May 2018 and is expected to be complete in July 2019, which will widen the bridge from 15.1 meters to 16.5 meters.

Until then, the bridge remains a bottleneck, especially during rush hour, on a daily basis.

Countless vehicles are stuck on Nguyen Huu Tho Street in District 7, which leads to Kenh Te Bridge. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Countless vehicles are stuck on Nguyen Huu Tho Street in District 7, which leads to Kenh Te Bridge. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

In fact, the bridge had always been a traffic jam hotspot even before the expansion began. The project was aimed at solving the problem, but the ongoing construction only exacerbates the gridlock.

Even when the project is finished, it will only help alleviate the congestion to a certain degree, said Nguyen Vinh Ninh, deputy director of the city’s management board for urban infrastructure projects.

“In order to eradicate traffic jams in the area, it is essential to build new bridges,” Ninh stated.

Works being carried as part of the expansion of the bridge. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Works are carried out as part of the expansion of the bridge. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

District 4 and District 7 are separated by the Te Canal, which was dug in 1906 to boost connectivity between Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta region.

Kenh Te Bridge, built in 2006, is one of the three bridges that stretch over the canal and link the two districts. The other two bridges are Tan Thuan and Tan Thuan 2.

The population in District 7 has been growing rapidly, along with the appearance of numerous apartment complexes, placing enormous pressure on the local traffic infrastructure.

Authorities are mulling over the construction of Kenh Te 2 Bridge, but the project is still on paper.

Congestion on Khanh Hoi Street in District 4. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Congestion on Khanh Hoi Street in District 4Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

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