Residents to stare at street barriers for several years more

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The green fences surrounding infrastructure project construction sites in Ho Chi Minh City will continue to frustrate city residents for another five years at least, project managers say.


Bach Vu Hai, deputy general director of Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco), said the company's projects to upgrade the city's water pipelines can only be completed in 2015.


The head of another major project, the Environmental Hygiene Project, Phan Chau Thuan, said the green fences serving the project will be cleared no earlier than the end of 2011.


But Do Tan Long, an official with the HCMC Center for Managing Flood Prevention Programs, said it cannot be decided when the green fences will disappear as many parts of the city's flooding prevention project have not even begun.


Long said the center will start replacing a series of old drains on more than ten major streets such as Hai Ba Trung and Dinh Tien Hoang, but he doesn't know when.


He said the drain replacement work was approved a long time ago but has not been started because the city is yet to figure out how it can divert traffic from the concerned streets.


The center has asked HCMC Transport Department to quickly redistribute the traffic flow on the streets so it can start the work soon.


But it is yet to get a response, Long said.


Nguyen Vinh Ninh, deputy director of the Urban Traffic Management No.1 which manage streets in Districts 1, 3 and Phu Nhuan, said there're around 49 green fences in the city downtown area belonging to the urban improvement and hygiene projects.


Several green fences have appeared as late as a few days ago, Ninh said.


By occupying large portions of the roadbed, the green fences have caused severe traffic jams as well as accidents and forced many stores to down shutters as customers have been blocked from entering them.


To make matters worse, the area inside the green fences typically sink every time the fences are cleared because the restoration work has been shoddy.


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