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HCMC’s traffic infrastructure is only 35% completed: chairman

“This number is too low for Ho Chi Minh City’s requirement for infrastructure development. If there is no research for appropriate mechanisms and models, the city’s traffic network would face many challenges,” Phan Van Mai, chairman of HCMC People’s Committee, said at a conference.

HCMC’s traffic system includes both land, water and air routes. Planning for the city’s traffic infrastructure was approved nearly a decade ago, yet projects are being rolled out too slowly, Mai said.

For example, HCMC was supposed to have one to two elevated roads and two to three metro lines by 2020 to satisfy travel demand. And yet, the city has no elevated roads, its first metro line (Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien) has been delayed multiple times, and the second metro line (Ben Thanh-Tham Luong) has not even begun construction.

There should also be six highways connecting HCMC with other localities, spanning a total 350 kilometers, and yet there are only two highways: the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay and the HCMC-Trung Luong-My Thuan. A third, Ben Luc-Long Thanh, is still under construction.

HCMC only has over 4,700 kilometers of roads, with a density of 2.26 km per square kilometer, which is only a fifth of what it’s supposed to be, he added.

Mai said the lack of funding is the main reason why traffic infrastructure in the city has not reached the required level, with a lack of associated mechanisms and ground-breaking models another factor.

“We need to think of mechanisms for a traffic economy, not mere traffic projects. As each project requires a large amount of funds, relying on national capital alone wouldn’t be enough,” said Mai.

Le Anh Tuan, deputy minister of transport, said HCMC should investigate better policies for traffic network development. The city should focus on sustainable construction when it comes to developing traffic networks, which must be a part of the urban landscape so there would not be a situation where “real estate comes first, infrastructure, second.”

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