The Ho Chi Minh City Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) has said it is accelerating the building of nine pedestrian bridges connecting elevated stations along the first metro line in the southern metropolis.
The pedestrian bridges will be constructed across Hanoi Highway to link nine out of the 11 elevated stations, including Tan Cang, Thao Dien, An Phu, Rach Chiec, Phuoc Long, Binh Thai, Thu Duc, Saigon Hi-Tech Park, and National Vietnam University-Ho Chi Minh City.
Each bridge will be 3.5 meters wide and some 78 meters long, stretching from elevated stations to residential areas or bus stops along the metro line.
Pedestrian bridges will include staircases, roofs, trees, and lighting systems.
Once they are put into use, passengers will not have to cross roadways, ensuring their safety.
The nine pedestrian bridges are expected to be completed by the end of this year, along with the completion of the entire metro line No. 1.
At the two remaining elevated stations on the route, Suoi Tien and Van Thanh, pedestrian bridges are already available.
In the future, passengers will find it convenient to travel between residential areas, trade centers, bus stops, and metro stations thanks to the systems of pedestrian bridges, bus stops, and walking streets.
The construction of pedestrian bridges connecting to the metro line in crowded areas is necessary, according to traffic experts.
The nine pedestrian bridges will facilitate passengers from Hanoi Highway to enter elevated stations and vice versa, said Dr. Nguyen Bao Thanh, a construction expert from Ho Chi Minh City Open University.
However, many pedestrian bridges are rarely used.
“Some pedestrian overcrossings along Pham Van Dong Boulevard are beautiful but they see few users," Thanh added.
"Road users cross the crowded road underneath instead regardless of danger.”
Local authorities should encourage residents to use these facilities, erect notice boards at the feet of the pedestrian bridges, and impose heavy sanctions against jaywalkers.
The administration of Ho Chi Minh City should connect traffic infrastructure systems, and develop the habits of walking and using public transport means among residents to effectively exploit the first metro line.
The metro line must be linked to bus and pedestrian bridge systems.
In the long term, it is a must to develop a metro and bus network across the city.
Under the prevailing regulations, pedestrians who cross streets at the wrong place will be fined VND60,000-100,000 (US$2.6-4.3) each, an official of the Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Safety Board told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The traffic police should enhance patrols and punishment of violators to improve locals’ awareness.
The city’s first metro line, which is 19.7 kilometers long, runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City and carries an estimated price tag of VND43.7 trillion ($1.9 billion) funded by Japan's ODA loans.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh demanded that the construction of the metro line, which is now some 95 percent complete, be finished by September 2 this year after the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee adjusted the expected completion date for it to the end of this year.