The Long Kien Bridge in Nha Be district in HCM City. The bridge collapsed ​on January 19 after a truck weighing nearly 10 times its allowed capacity tried to cross it (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - HCM City has about 200 bridges in need of repair or replacement, 30 of which will be repaired by 2020, said Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the city’s Department of Transport.

One of the bridges, the Long Kien Bridge, located on Le Van Luong Street in the outer district of Nha Be, collapsed on January 19 after a truck weighing nearly 10 times the bridge’s capacity tried to cross it.

The 12.6-tonne vehicle was carrying 17 tonnes of goods when it attempted to cross the bridge which only allows vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes and under. The accident caused no casualties, but sent the truck and a motorbike into the river.

Speaking at a press conference after the accident on January 20, director Cuong said that the Long Kien Bridge, together with three other bridges on Le Van Luong Street, are four of the 30 bridges in the city that will be repaired by 2020, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

The four bridges on Le Van Luong street – Long Kien, Rach Dia, Rach Tom and Rach Doi – create an essential route that connects HCM City and the southern province of Long An.

Built before 1975, despite having degraded and become unsafe for passengers, these bridges have not been repaired even though the proposals for their repair were approved by the city’s authorities in 2001.

This is because the bridges’ designs do not meet the Ministry of Transport’s standards for bridge construction, said Cuong.

“The ministry requires bridges to have roads on both sides and another underneath, which these four bridges don’t have,” he said. “We need to redesign them and make plans for site clearance, which delays the plans.”

The transport department will try to get these four bridges ready for repair by the end of the year, Cuong added.

The authorities of Nha Be district are working on a compensation plan for site clearance for the Rach Dia and Long Kien bridges, he said.

“We expect to start upgrading these two bridges in the second quarter of this year,” he said.

The department has also proposed to call for public investments in repairing the remaining Rach Doi and Rach Tom bridges this year instead of implementing them under the Build-Transfer (BT) mechanism, since the city was unable to mobilise capital for these projects, Cuong added.

“The city wanted to mobilise capital under the Build-Transfer (BT) mechanism, but was unable to decide how it will return capital to investors,” he said.

“All procedures for the repair of the two [Rach Doi and Rach Tom] bridges will be completed by September this year at the latest,” he said. 

The department will also closely monitor and facilitate the repair of other weak bridges in the city, Cuong said.-VNA