Hanoi eyes higher transport infrastructure capabilities
These projects would improve Hanoi’s public transport infrastructure system and create the driving force for socio-economic growth.
As taking steps to become a modern and smart city, Hanoi has been seeking greater capabilities in transport infrastructure, according to traffic expert Le Trung Hieu.
“In 2022, Hanoi achieved the strong transformation of the transport infrastructure and mass transit network,” Hieu told The Hanoi Times.
“Moreover, for the past years, the local authorities have been putting into operation several urban public works that help boost connectivity, reduce traffic congestion and support economic recovery,” he added.
Among them was the long-awaited Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway line inaugurated in November 2021, Hieu said, noting that this metro line project has significant meaning to the capital city’s transport infrastructure.
“This is the first step to implementing urban railway planning until 2030. The city’s urban railway network could be extended to the suburban Xuan Mai satellite city,” Hieu stressed.
In addition, Hanoi is focusing on completing major transportation projects, including the ring road No.2; Vinh Tuy bridge; ring road No.3; overpasses at intersections of Nguyen Van Huyen-Hoang Quoc Viet, An Duong-Thanh Nien; road connecting ring road No.3 to Hanoi-Haiphong expressway.
“These projects would transform Hanoi’s public transport infrastructure system and create the driving force for socio-economic growth,” Hieu said.
Besides success, Hanoi also has encountered challenges, but the local authorities have opened up the right direction for a new investment cycle to complete the city’s transportation network.
In 2023, Hanoi is scheduled to complete key projects that would significantly impact the city’s development, Director of the Hanoi Department of Transportation Nguyen Phi Thuong said, as part of the efforts to enhance state governance capabilities in the transportation sector.
"The department would focus on accelerating the construction progress of transport projects, including inter-provincial roads, on boosting the development of the Hanoi metropolitan area," he said.
Thuong said Hanoi is Vietnam's political, economic, and cultural hub. However, for many years, the city has faced traffic jams because the transport infrastructure has not kept pace with urbanization, population growth, and the increasing number of private vehicles.
“In that context, Hanoi has shown a strong determination to invest in a transport infrastructure system connecting regions and within each region. A typical example is the key project of ring road No.4, which is set to serve as the growth engine for the less developed South of Hanoi,” Thuong said.
To ensure the progress of this super project with a total investment of over VND83 trillion (US$3.5 billion), Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung himself assumed the position of Head of the steering committee of the project. The Hanoi party leader has closely monitored the site clearance. Despite the huge amount of work, Hanoi has committed to handing over 70% of the land required for the project execution before June 2023 and 100% by the end of the year.
Le Van Luong tunnel put into use. Photo: Hoang Hai/ The Hanoi Times
Furthermore, the Le Van Luong underpass, whose construction started in October 2020 with total investment capital of nearly VND700 billion ($30.7 million), was completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, the Vinh Tuy 2 bridge, with investment capital of over VND2.5 trillion ($110 million), which is part of the ring road No.2, has helped bolster the connectivity between the two sides of Red River and meet the growing traffic between the city’s downtown areas and the northern region.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Center (TRAMOC), told The Hanoi Times that the city’s mass transit network has not only recovered strongly after the Covid-19 pandemic but also made a lot of achievements”. The most notable is the stable and safe operation of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway.
After one year of operation, this metro line has proven highly efficient, with a total ridership of over 7.2 million. More importantly, it has helped many locals switch from private vehicles to public transport.
The elevated section of Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station has also come into pilot operation, which is expected to reduce traffic pressure in the city's western gateway.
Along with the sky train, the electric bus (Vinbus) has also created a great resonance for its quality and good services, conveying an environmentally friendly image of Hanoi buses.
In addition, the good public acceptance of electric bicycles and the bike-sharing scheme has created a positive premise for Hanoi to continue to invest in environmentally friendly public transport, making it easier for citizens to access the public transport network.
“Hanoi has faced many difficulties in developing public passenger transport in the densely populated urban areas with narrow roads. The development of bus lines using small vehicles connected to metro lines is a strategic breakthrough to optimize the public passenger transport network and encourage people to quit using private vehicles,” Hai said.
He emphasized that the biggest issue Hanoi needs to solve as soon as possible in 2023 and the following years is to relocate overcrowded facilities outside the urban core. In the city, there are about 43 hospitals at central and municipal levels, some 2,500 schools from preschool to university, and 56,200 public agencies. Most of them are located in the inner city, which is one of the main causes of traffic congestion and overloaded infrastructure.
“To move these facilities to the suburbs, the city will focus investment on the road network and passenger transport infrastructure in rural and suburban areas, especially in five satellite urban areas of the capital city,” said Director Nguyen Hoang Hai.
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