The transport sector needs some 3 trillion VND (142 million USD) for road maintenance this year, according to the Ministry of Transport's Vietnam Road Administration acting general director Nguyen Duc Thang.

Currently, the authority oversees 19,100 kilometres of roads, consisting of 119 highway routes. Of these, 10,000 kilometres were overdue for maintenance, while more than 2,500 kilometres are scheduled for repair. Also, some 400 bridges are in need of being rebuilt or upgraded.

According to Thang, last year the administration took a series of measures to protect road surfaces and their safety corridors, such as digging and building drainage on highways, using new technology for building bridges and regulating overloaded trucks. This helped save trillions of VND, said Thang.

However, the increase in traffic, damage caused by overloaded trucks and the erosion of roads caused by storms have resulted in problems for maintenance crews.

Thang added that the demand for road repair and construction along highway routes remained very large, while the capital fund for road maintenance is limited. Thus, it was necessary to create plans that prioritised regulating areas with recurring traffic accidents and deteriorating roads.

The authority will strengthen the quality of management of local road management departments by tendering the maintenance management of about 20 percent of highways. Also, it is to replace or add road signs at dangerous locations and divert overloaded trucks to minimise road damage.

Further, the administration required the transport units to calculate regular maintenance costs of highways, bridges and tunnels to report to the department. Major highways with heavy traffic flows would receive priority for regular maintenance, he said.

In terms of weakened bridges, the administration has received the ministry's approval to re-examine major bridges nationwide and repair weakened bridges using new technologies that adapt plastic cables to reinforce bridges and strengthen their load carrying capacities.

Last year, as many as 80 downgrading bridges along national highways were repaired and upgraded with new technologies, saving about 1 trillion VND (47 million USD).-VNA