|The 18km road connecting the Trảng Bom and Cây Gáo communes in southern Đồng Nai Province is damaged by heavy vehicles that use it to avoid weighing and toll stations. — Photo news.zing.vn|
In recent years, thousands of vehicles have been taking the bypass instead of National Route 1 to avoid the Dầu Giây weighing station and the Trảng Bom toll station located on the route, Zing online newspaper reported.
When traveling from HCM City, drivers take National Route 1 until they reach Trảng Bom Town, then take the bypass to reach Provincial Route 762 and National Route 20, and then travel to either Đà Lạt City or central Bình Thuận Province.
“They use the bypass all day and all night,” resident Nguyễn Thanh Tùng of Trảng Bom District’s Sông Trầu Commune said. “It used to be a clean, 6m-wide asphalted road, but over the last two years, it has gotten seriously damaged at several places because of these heavy vehicles.”
The covers of the drainage system on the stretch of the bypass in Sông Trầu Commune are broken, which locals have temporarily covered with wood to avoid traffic accidents.
Dozens of large craters can be seen on different stretches of the bypass. Last year, two motorbike drivers fell into the holes and died, according to the People’s Committee of Cây Gáo Commune.
Vũ Thị Minh Châu, chairwoman of Trảng Bom People’s Committee, said the committee is finishing the paperwork required to upgrade the bypass under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) mechanism.
“We have asked concerned parties to monitor and ban trucks from using the bypass during a certain time of the day,” she said.
“In the meantime, we will fix the bypass’ surface and clean the drainage systems to avoid flooding during this rainy season,” she added.
Too many toll stations
Toll fees are being collected on an excessive number of roads in the province that have been upgraded under the BOT mechanism, the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.
In 1997, a two-way toll station was established on the stretch of National Route 51 in Biên Hòa City’s Tam Phước Commune after the route was upgraded by the Ministry of Construction.
In 2008, Biên Hòa-Vũng Tàu Expressway Development JSC (BEVC) took over the project, invested another VNĐ4 trillion (US$175.9 million) to upgrade some 74km of the route and installed three two-way toll stations to collect tolls for some 20 years.
Some 30km of Provincial Route 768 connecting Biên Hòa City and Vĩnh Cửu District also turned into a BOT route after being upgraded by Sonadezi Châu Đức JSC.
Another 6km route connecting the Thiện Tân Water Plant and Provincial Route 768 was also assigned by the province to the company to upgrade and collect tolls. Toll collection is estimated to last 29 years and eight months for both routes.
“Not only has the province’s transport system been overwhelmed, but tolls are being collected everywhere,” Nguyễn Thanh Trung, owner of a transport company in the province, said.
“It’s unreasonable since the companies did not open new roads but only upgraded the pre-existing ones,” he said.
Nguyễn Thanh Đạm, head of the planning and finance division under the Đồng Nai Department of Transport, said National Route 768B was actually meant to be extended. However, the department has only been upgrading pre-existing stretches because the extension is not urgent.
“We invited investments from enterprises for the upgrade since the province’s budget was limited,” he said.
Apart from roads, new construction was constantly being added to the Đồng Nai Bridge BOT project over the last eight years, resulting in the establishment of three toll stations by the Construction Corporation No 1 JSC (CC1).
Residents and drivers in different areas of the province are being pressured by toll fees due to the fact that toll stations of National Route 1K, Biên Hòa Bypass, Provincial Route 16, National Route 20 and the HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây Expressway were all placed in the province. — VNS