Vietnam's expensive, scandal-plagued highway sinks

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A part of the expensive East-West Highway in Ho Chi Minh City resembles a terraced field as portions have sunk just six months after it opened to traffic.

The scandals surrounding the expensive East-West Highway in Ho Chi Minh City refuse to go away: six months after open to traffic, the road is sinking. 

Built to link the city's eastern and western parts, and downtown and suburbs, the highway was under consideration since 1997.

But the VND13.4 trillion (US$642.7 million) highway came with a major scandal. Huynh Ngoc Si, former deputy director of the city's transport department, was sentenced to life in 2010 for taking bribes of $262,000 from Tokyo-based Consultants International to help the company win contracts to build the Japanese ODA-funded highway.

The revelation led Japan to suspend development assistance to Vietnam from December 2008 to February 2009.

A spot that has sunk 10 cm with rocks exposed

Now parts of the highway in District 2 look like a terraced field since portions are sinking, news website VietNamNet reported Tuesday.

The sinkage is seen on both sides in the stretch going into and out of Cat Lai Port. It is measured at up to 10 centimeters deep and 20 meters long, and the rocks below the asphalt have been exposed.

With only the lanes for larger vehicles affected and closed off for repairs, they now use the motorbike lanes.

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