HCM City to inspect, replace old bridges hinh anh 1Workers at Binh Loi Railway Bridge, which spans the Sai Gon River. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – HCM City plans to inspect the conditions of bridges and ensure safety after a barge hit the Ghenh bridge recently on Dong Nai river, causing it to collapse.

The Binh Loi railway bridge over the Saigon river, for example, which was built 114 years ago, is vulnerable as there is heavy traffic below it on the river.

If the bridge collapsed, the consequences would be severe as motorbikes travel on the bridge every day.

Le Van Khoa, Vice Chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee, said that after the accident at Ghenh bridge, the government of HCM City would speed up the construction progress of a new Binh Loi railway bridge.

It is expected that a ground-breaking ceremony will be organised next month.

Water traffic on the Saigon river is usually busy, while the bridge navigation is only 1.5 metre high, according to Lieutenant Colonel Phan Van Man, of Waterway Traffic Police Department.

Last year, there were three cases of collisions into bridges.

The Long Kieng bridge and Rach Doi bridge in Nha Be district, for example, collapsed after being hit by barge.

Cai Tam bridge in Binh Chanh district also fell after a barge hit it in September last year, causing traffic congestion.

Man said that the city authority had allocated forces to guard Binh Loi bridge. They will help to regulate traffic on the river around the clock.

When the tide falls, boats and barges will then be allowed to travel under the bridge.

In order to prevent accidents, the HCM City Police Department will conduct a survey on bridges.

Signs boards and barriers to protect bridge pillars will then be installed.

Regular inspections will be conducted on the city’s rivers, Man said, adding that most accidents are caused by vessel crew members.

According to the HCM City Department of Transport, the city has more than 1,000 km of waterways.

Outlying districts like Nha Be, Binh Chanh, and Cu Chi have several old bridges.

This is not the first time the North – South railway has been disconnected due to a barge or boat colliding with the bridge.

In November last year, a barge carrying sand crashed into Binh Loi bridge, damaging the railway track.

The railway operation was suspended for several hours and several trains were cancelled.

According to statistics, since 2009 there have been dozens of cases of barges or boats crashing into Binh Loi bridge, affecting the operation of the railway.

In 2014, a barge broke a span of Hoa An bridge, which is less than 1km away from Ghenh bridge. Investigators said the crew had been drinking.-VNA