The Saigon River Tunnel in Ho Chi Minh City has some damage after more than 10 years of operation but it is still safe in terms of load-carrying capacity, local transport authorities reported.
The municipal Department of Transport released the conclusion after considering a recent report of the municipal Urban Traffic Operation Management Center, which makes regular evaluations over the quality of the Saigon River Tunnel, which opened to traffic in late 2011.
Damaged spots are being dealt with and monitored, the department said, citing the report.
Specifically, some cracks have been detected in a U-shaped concrete section of the tunnel and they have been filled with glue.
Many points of water-soaked spots were found in the surrounding wall of the tunnel although the wall has been covered with concrete mortar. These penetration points have been treated by concreting or gluing.
Some points on the surface of the tunnel are also inundated with water and have been addressed but not thoroughly, the report said.
“Such damage is assessed by the tunnel’s inspection and consultant unit as not affecting the load-carrying capacity of the work, which has remained safe under trial load,” an official from the aforementioned center said.
The official emphasized that the center will continue to monitor the tunnel to ensure the longevity and long-term durability of the structure, which is part of the East-West Highway project, connecting downtown District 1 with the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in Thu Duc City.
A safety inspection of the tunnel is performed every day as recommended by the consultant unit, and intensive maintenance has been carried out in accordance with a required procedure after 10 years of operation, the official added.
The transport department directed the center to make a maintenance plan and carry it out in accordance with regulations on the management, operation, and maintenance of the tunnel as well as relevant technical requirements.
Agencies concerned are proceeding with the building of an adequate database on the tunnel's structure and equipment to form a basis for evaluating material deterioration over time.
The Saigon River Tunnel, with six traffic lanes, runs 27 meters under the Saigon River at the deepest point and is the longest underwater tunnel in Southeast Asia as well as the first in Vietnam.
Officially opened to traffic on November 21, 2011 after seven years of construction, the tunnel is nearly 1.5 km long, 33 meters wide, and nine meters high.
The tunnel was built by a consortium of Japanese contractors at a total cost of US$189 million, funded by Japan’s official development assistance.