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Debate about pedestrians causing unsafety on Long Bien bridge

A representative of the Ministry of Transport said that the pedestrian crossing on Long Bien Bridge is not for pedestrians, and Mr. Duong Trung said that people should not be banned.

At a seminar on management of Long Bien Bridge, Hanoi, on June 8, Mr. Bui Khac Diep, Deputy Director of Transport Infrastructure Design (Ministry of Transport), said that the Long Bien bridge was originally designed only for For railways, in 1920 the French expanded the road lanes to two wings to serve road traffic. Up to now, through many repairs, the pedestrian lane is arranged close to the railing, consisting of very thin 2.5 cm steel mesh concrete slabs, only for patrollers.

For a long time, Long Bien bridge has banned pedestrians, but in fact, many people still walk and gather on the bridge to take photos, posing a risk of unsafety on the pedestrian lane. Some people even rode motorbikes on footpaths to get down to the middle yard, breaking the woven sheets. In addition, the market situation, buying and selling on the bridge still took place, the traffic police only handled it for a while and then people gathered again. Along with that, even though three-wheelers and motorbikes have been banned, many of these vehicles still go up, or many cars from other provinces still pass through, causing overload and deterioration of the bridge.

At the seminar, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Vuong, Director of Ha Hai Railway Joint Stock Company, said that there were signs prohibiting pedestrians, cars, motorbikes, and tricycles at peak hours, but counting vehicles from 2pm to 4pm. At 8 p.m. on May 31, there were 150 guards and motorbikes crossing the bridge. The company has installed 3 cameras to monitor the status of the bridge and extract weekly data to send to the authorities for cold fines. In addition, the unit will close concrete columns to prevent cars from crossing the bridge.

Long Bien Bridge has a pedestrian walkway for patrollers.  Photo: Ngoc Thanh

Long Bien Bridge has a pedestrian walkway for patrollers, located close to the bridge wall. Image: Ngoc Thanh

Historian Duong Trung Quoc said that walking and taking pictures on Long Bien bridge is a real need. People want to walk and exercise in the morning, go to the middle beach in the afternoon, so the units need to separate channels for people to travel smoothly. The cultural sector must consider Long Bien Bridge as a cultural point, exploiting intangible values, should not block the needs of people.

Mr. Quoc also affirmed that in the past, Long Bien bridge still allowed pedestrians, bicycles and motorbikes, so it is difficult to consider pedestrians to cause unsafety to the bridge. Up to now, when the bridge has deteriorated, the authorities can limit the people on the bridge, it cannot be said that the bridge design is not for pedestrians. “If it is a bridge, there is travel, if it stops working, it will be a ruin. But how to travel must be calculated in accordance with the capacity and needs of the people”, Mr. Quoc said.

According to Mr. Duong Trung, to reduce pressure on the weak bridge, the traffic police need to handle violations at the beginning of the bridge, do not let the violators get on the bridge, and then record a cold fine. Hanoi city needs to quickly build an inner-city railway to reduce the load on Long Bien bridge. If the bridge is damaged for a long time, it will cause difficulties for the railway industry because of costly maintenance and repair costs.

In the long term, a representative of the Hanoi Department of Transport, Mr. Tran Dang Hai, Head of the Infrastructure Department, said that according to the plan, the national railway will not go through Long Bien bridge but stop at the focal point. Ngoc Hoi. The Ministry of Transport is handing over the documents of the planned railway lines to Hanoi. After that, Hanoi will coordinate with the Ministry to study the Yen Vien – Ngoc Hoi urban railway line, then the orientation will be clear with the Long Bien bridge.

Last May, Long Bien Bridge had two incidents of broken panels on the bridge deck. On May 28, at the position of beam D1/10 of the road for motorbikes and bicycles upstream towards Hoan Kiem district to Long Bien, a damaged knitting sheet fell.

On May 4, the pedestrian part of the road also dropped a wicker into the river. Both cases were detected by the patrol staff, reported to the unit to install the warning signal, install the replacement woven sheet immediately.

Mr Duy

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