By Le Anh - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The ongoing construction of a new toll station by the HCMC Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) at the Thu Duc District end of Binh Trieu 1 Bridge has attracted criticism from transporters as it will cause traffic congestion there when in service.
According to CII’s announcement sent to the city’s Department of Transport, work on the new toll station started last Friday and it will be put into operation on a trial basis on July 22.
CII investment vice director Duong Quang Chau said collecting fees at Binh Trieu 1 and 2 bridges is to refund the investment capital for the Binh Trieu road and bridge project under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract between the city government and his company.
Meanwhile, local transporters expressed their outcries over the construction of the new toll station.
It is unfeasible to set up a new toll station at Binh Trieu 1 Bridge as the area is the oft-congested gateway to the city, said Thai Van Chung, general secretary of the HCMC Cargo Transport Association.
“Moreover, as per Circular 90 of the Ministry of Finance, the project owner needs to meet four conditions including finishing construction, repair and upgrade of road and bridge projects and seeking quality certification from relevant authorities before collecting fees. CII has just upgraded the bridge but has yet to accomplish the road’s construction, so it has not the right to collect tolls,” Chung clarified.
As the Binh Trieu road and bridge project is not complete, it is irrational to force transporters to pay fees without providing them appropriate traffic infrastructure, said Dang Duc Tiep, director of Dang Tien Transport Co.
Tiep said there now exists a toll station for Binh Trieu 2 bridge.
Despite CII’s suggestion that such a station would help regulate traffic during rush hours, Tiep cast doubt on this idea.
Realizing the possibility of traffic congestion given the new toll station, the transport department only allowed CII to install and test run the facility for one month. The department also said CII would have to immediately remove the station if it caused traffic congestion.