Road works hit big speed bump

December 05, 2011 | 10:01
(0) user say
It is going to be a long, bumpy road for Vietnam’s road projects after the Ministry of Transport said it would only fund urgent infrastructure projects in the near future.
illustration photo

Despite calls from the  governments of 13 cities and provinces for help with stalled road projects, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) is sticking to its guns. The MoT’s move came  in response to the government’s bid to trim public investment to tame inflation.  

Ninh Thuan province’s party committee deputy secretary Nguyen Duc Thanh said people in Ninh Thuan and Lam Dong provinces were lamenting the slow progress of a $46.5 million project to upgrade National Highway 27 which ran through these two provinces.

Work on this project began in 2008 and was expected to be completed in 2012. “The project is delayed now, causing lots of traffic accidents and serious environmental pollution. More seriously, it is the main cause of a recent flood hitting Song Pha 2 hydropower plant, which has been out of action for months,” Thanh said.

Meanwhile, Lam Dong’s People Procuracy head Nguyen Ba Thuyen asked the MoT when work would start on the upgrade and construction of four key roads in the province: the Dong Truong Son, national highways 27, and 20, and Da Lat-Dau Giay  Highway.

Thuyen said the number of traffic accidents caused by these delayed projects kept rising.
Huynh Thanh, vice chairman of Gia Lai People’s Council, said the central highlands province was home to national highways 14, 19 and 25, all of which were strategically important to socio-economic development and national security.

These roads have reportedly seriously deteriorated and are the site of frequent traffic snarl ups. Thanh said the province’s authorities had asked the MoT to repair them, but nothing had been heard from the ministry.

“I want to ask you when these roads will be upgraded so that the province’s socio-economic development can be boosted and the region’s national security and defence can be ensured,” Thanh said in a letter to the MoT Minister Dinh La Thang.

Meanwhile Truong Van Vo, vice head of Dong Nai province’s Economic Committee, told Thang that in August, 2007, the National Assembly had asked the government to upgrade National High 20 and Provincial Road 769 in Dong Nai so they could be used to transport bauxite – exploited and processed in the region since mid-2011– from Lam Dong.

As a result, the government ordered the MoT to construct these roads. “But, nothing has been done to upgrade the road projects. Why?” Vo asked. Southern Kien Giang province’s Department of Education and Training director Nguyen Kim Be asked Thang about the timing of the upgrade of 291 kilometres on four national highways which were all seriously deteriorated.
But cold water has been poured onto these proposals.

According to the MoT, under the government’s Resolution 11 on measures to curb inflation and stabilise the macroeconomy, the MoT was focusing investment into building “urgent and important projects able to be completed within 2011”.

“Thus, it could be difficult to implement the road projects in Ninh Thuan and Lam Dong, because of a shortage of state funds. However, the  projects in Kien Giang would be granted investment capital soon,” Thang said.

He said the MoT was determining which road projects were to be completed within 2012, so that they could be allocated sufficient capital. The remaining projects would be examined, valued and listed and see their construction shifted from the state investment model to public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

He added the timing for building the Dalat-Dau Giay highway remained unclear because of capital shortages and because “no investor has shown any interest in this project, which will be built under the PPP model.”

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional