Saigon considers overpasses, monorail, cable car to solve airport traffic conundrum
Saigon continues to seek new solutions to ease road congestion around the city’s airport.
In search of a viable plan to resolve the problem, Saigon authorities are actively entertaining proposals to curtail traffic leading to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, according to Tuoi Tre. In addition to road expansion and the construction of overpasses, the city is considering a monorail and cable car system.
An expansion of Hoang Minh Giam Street began in September in one effort to address the problem. In July, two flyovers were opened to traffic on Truong Son Street and at the Nguyen Kiem- Nguyen Thai Son Roundabout, but they failed to alleviate congestion on Truong Son Street.
An enlargement of Hoang Hoa Tham Street is expected to begin in November, according the the Urban Traffic Management Zone no. 1. They’ve also proposed a new road to connect Tran Quoc Hoan with Truong Chinh Street. The 22-meter-wide, four-lane roadway would cost US$11.1 million.
The Institute of Transport Science and Technology has suggested building two monorail lines to the airport, with one running from Gia Dinh Park in Go Vap District to the airport and the other from Hoang Van Thu Park in Tan Binh District, according to Saigon Times. Under this proposal, 121,500 passengers a day could be served along 6.3 kilometers of track. It would cost between US$35 million and US$50 million per kilometer. Critics caution that this would only relocate congestion to areas surrounding the monorail stations.
A cable car system has also been considered. Bilco, the company behind the cable cars at Vinpearl Land and Ba Na Hills, came up with this idea in January. The project would cost US$25 million, but experts are skeptical about its safety and efficacy, in addition to maintenance costs.
Other solutions include a US$250 million extension of the proposed Metro Line 5 which would connect Tran Quoc Hoan and Truong Chinh Streets and open more entrances to the airport, which is currently only accessible via Truong Son Street.
Much of the congestion stems from a rapid increase in air travel from Tan Son Nhat. VnExpress notes that the airport was designed to handle 25 million passengers per year, but last year it served 32.5 million, up 22.4 percent from 2015.
Vietnam’s airline market is growing at the third-fastest pace in the Asia-Pacific region, and all the domestic airlines are planning fleet expansions. A new airport has been envisioned for neighboring Dong Nai Province, but the massive, hugely expensive project will take a long time to become a reality.