If you’re feeling in a rut over your daily commute spare a thought for Vietnamese motorists attempting to traverse this patch of the Vo Van Kiet-Mai Chi Tho Highway in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).
In the video what appears to be a modern multi-lane highway actually becomes the highway to hell on closer inspection due to engineering that fails to adequately meet the weight of vehicles it is designed to carry – despite having been overhauled five times in the last six years.
The Vo Van Kiet-Mai Chi Tho Highway, known colloquially as the ‘thousand billion highway’ due to its notorious construction cost, is an extensive link spanning the length of HCMC connecting Districts 6, 8, and 5 on the East side with new industrial and residential suburbs on the West side. Since it opened in 2010 it has been plagued by subsistence problems, with massive ruts developing in the road surface.
In the video above motorcycles, cars, and trucks play a delicate cat and mouse game as they attempt to manoeuvre from one side of the road to the other, with high praise due to the heavy vehicle drivers in particular that there are not a lot of casualties daily. As motor bikes slip on the crest of deep rivulets heavy vehicle drivers who themself have their own difficulties, take into account the road surface and give the hapless motorbike riders some additional road space; Some even stopping and getting out of their vehicle to help others who have been thrown to the ground.
The sight of fellow citizens being thrown from their bikes and dancing with death under the wheels of heavy articulated vehicle has horrified Vietnam netizens, this video gathering more than 1.2 million views, 8,400 ‘likes’ and more than 2,200 comments.
More than a few comments highlight the mismatch between the high construction cost and the
Last year Vietnam’s Minister of Transport, Dinh La Thang, reportedly said contractors would not dare build roads carelessly as the ministry has increased the maintenance period of roads from two years to four years. He also proudly boasted on a Vietnam television programme that work by his ministry had reduced the subsidence rate from 8-10 per cent in 2014 to 3.54 per cent in 2015.
Perhaps the ministry needs a new tape measure, or the subsidence rate of the Vo Van Kiet-Mai Chi Tho Highway increased. Whatever the reason is not important. This is simply dangerous and costly to all those involved.
Vietnam has Asean community’s second deadliest roads
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates contained in its Global status report on road safety 2015 rank Vietnam 13th for the total number of road deaths globally with some 22,419 people killed on Vietnam roads in 2013, or about one person every 23 minutes. While the Vietnam government says the figure is less than 10,000, the WHO says this only includes those dead at the scene of a crash.
On a per 100,000 population basis Vietnam ranked 40th. While well below Asean Community (AC) neighbour Thailand at number two (See: Playboy Bunny Fearz Poonnada Killed Drunk Driving in Thailand), it was way above other AC members Malaysia (#51), Myanmar (#65), Cambodia (#80), Indonesia (#93), Laos (#99), the Philippines (#121), and Singapore (168), leaving it with the unflattering title of having the second deadliest roads in Southeast Asia.
With sections of road like the Vo Van Kiet-Mai Chi Tho Highway the situation is unlikely to improve for some considerable time.
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