Vietnam’s transport authorities have dismissed allegations that a new US$160,000 bridge in the central province of Ha Tinh only serves two families, including a local official's.
Khe Tay Bridge in the province was built between January and June as part of a state-funded program to make rural areas across the country more accessible.
But many locals have questioned the choice of location, saying the 200-meter bridge is close to only two houses. One of them is the house of a commune chairman.
Nguyen Khac Hoi, the chairman, was quoted by local media as saying that the bridge is to serve "dozens of families" in his commune, especially in the monsoon season when other routes are difficult to reach.
But different newspapers reported that very few people have used the new bridge as their houses are closer to a concrete bridge around 500 meters away, which was built in 2006 and still works fine for them any time of the year.
Many locals said the new bridge was a waste of money.
However, a report from the Directorate of Roads, a national agency in charge of road and bridge construction, counted 500 crossings every day.
Pham Quang Vinh, deputy head of the Directorate of Roads, told news website VnExpress on Monday that the bridge was built with a vision for the next ten years, and the whole commune will benefit from it.
“There will be a new residential area and a new road connecting more houses to the bridge,” Vinh said.
He said the project had been approved by the province and the Ministry of Transport.
“If the commune chairman were not there, the bridge would still have been built anyway.”