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In Ho Chi Minh City, residents wait 2 decades for bridge to be completed

Sunday, March 14, 2021, 16:05 GMT+7
In Ho Chi Minh City, residents wait 2 decades for bridge to be completed
Thousands of housholds along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City have been waiting for the completion of the Long Kieng Bridge for years. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Site clearance has been a major setback that blocks the completion of a bridge project approved by the Ho Chi Minh City administration 20 years ago, leading to local residents struggling with their daily life along the bridge.

During a field trip to the construction site for Long Kieng Bridge in suburban Nha Be District in July last year, chairperson of the municipal legislative People’s Council Nguyen Thi Le complained that the construction has never been complete in the past 20 years.

“It has vexed many people, including a woman who said that the bridge project started to be implemented when she was 60 years old.

“Now, she said, she’s 80 years old but the bridge has never been finished.

“She hoped to see the completion of the bridge before she dies.”

The Long Kieng Bridge has been unfinished for years in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The Long Kieng Bridge has been unfinished for years in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The municipal executive People’s Committee approved the Long Kieng bridge project in 2001 before site clearance began in 2007, with only a few households agreeing to relocate.

In August 2018, its construction started at an estimated cost of VND557 billion (US$24.2 million).

Scheduled to be inaugurated in November 2019, the bridge was designed to be 318 meters long, featuring 661 meters of roadway leading to both ends.

The construction site currently includes seven reinforced concrete piers, deteriorating metal fences along Le Van Luong Street, and rusty steel beams blocking the façades of houses. No workers are present.

Rusty steel beams and cylinders lie across the fronts of houses along Le Van Luong Street years in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Rusty steel beams and cylinders lie across the fronts of houses along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Site clearance is said to blame for this mess.

Traffic jams happen on a daily basis on an old bridge running parallel to the project, angering local residents who are forced to inhale dust when it is sunny and live with inundation at high tide or whenever it is rainy.

Inside the fences, waste piles up, giving off a pungent odor.

The old Long Kieng Bridge, about 40 years old, is so small by current standards and has been running down, congesting traffic along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City every day. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The old Long Kieng Bridge, about 40 years old, is so small by current standards and has been running down, congesting traffic along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City every day. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Hoa, 65, is one of the residents who were willing to pull down parts of their houses for the construction of the bridge in 2008.

“I was still healthy back then, hoping to travel on a new bridge,” Hoa said.

“Ten years ago, I suffered a stroke so I’m confined to a wheelchair now.

“But I’m still hoping for the bridge.

“My adult children cannot do any business as the construction site occupies the front of their house.”

Le Thanh Ngoc, 73, and his 72-year-old wife Tran Thi Lieu yearn for a new bridge along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City on a daily basis. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Le Thanh Ngoc, 73, and his 72-year-old wife Tran Thi Lieu yearn for a new bridge along Le Van Luong Street in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City on a daily basis. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Le Thanh Ngoc, 73, and his 72-year-old wife Tran Thi Lieu bite the bullet, dealing with waste, smells, and mosquitoes, as well as have been waiting for years for the Long Kieng Bridge to be finished so their daily life could become better.

“Construction has been on and off over the past years,” Ngoc whined.

“The site has been empty for almost one year since the contractor pulled out their workers.

“We, residents, have to suffer.”

Only local residents suffer when the Long Kieng Bridge has been unfinished for years in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Only local residents suffer when the Long Kieng Bridge has been unfinished for years in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

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