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Saigon to Ban Disruptive Digging on 88 Major Streets in 2019

Starting in 2019, Ho Chi Minh City authorities will require all underground work be done without tearing up massive sections of streets.

In response to the traffic delays and lasting damage to road surfaces that "open cut" methods result in, the government will require alternative construction methods to be used for 88 roads with high traffic volume and for those that go through public spaces or contribute to the appeal of the city, according to Vo Khanh Hung, deputy director of the municipal transport department. Affected projects will include the installation of underground cables and pipes by power, water and telecom utilities. 

In addition to roadblocks caused by the construction team's cumbersome trucks and excavators, contractors frequently fail to adequately restore the road surfaces when their task is complete. The city reported 792 such instances in November this year which resulted in fines totaling VND4.72 billion (US$202,000). The alternative methods to be used are horizontal directional digging (HDD), pipe jacking and use of tunnel boring machines (TBM).

Any potential reduction in congestion on the overwhelmingly clogged streets would be very welcome as the city has more two-wheeled vehicles than people and traffic jams cost the city up to US$1.2 billion a year.

In addition to the new regulation that aims to keep streets in better shape, the city announced plans to build 190 kilometers of roads and 39 bridges by 2020 to alleviate traffic issues. Authorities also stopped issuing permits for high-rise buildings in central districts until 2020 for similar reasons.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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