Most cargo trucks in Ho Chi Minh City are running overloaded, damaging city streets and other infrastructre, transportation officials say.
Thousand of trucks ply major streets in the city every day, carrying fertilizers, construction materials and other goods from the city ports to factories in nearby Dong Nai and Binh Duong Provinces. All of them carry from two to five times the permitted load, the officials say.
Nguyen Ngoc Lu, a former official in the transport industry, estimates that many trucks from the Ben Nghe Wharf carry between 65 to 90 tons on their trips. Day and night, they pass the Tan Thuan Bridge in District 7 that is designed to bear 30 tons at the maxium and the Saigon Bridge, which has a 25 ton bearing capacity.
Many of the trucks are so old that they stop in the middle of the bridge sometimes and have to be restarted, he said.
Thanh Nien reporters observed the bridge and a few streets and found traffic police on duty did not bother to stop the trucks.
A truck driver who makes frequent trips to Phu My Industrial Zone in the southern coastal Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province said, with some pride, that when the Binh Trieu No.1 Bridge was being repaired and the permitted load was lowered to 16 tons, he still managed to drive his truck of 130 tons across it.
A source from the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam, which oversees all road transport in the country, said that if a vehicle increases its load two-fold, the damage it inflicts on the road would be 20 times worse.