Ho Chi Minh City authorities will allow vehicles to enter Nguyen Hue Street in District 1 during certain times of the day after it becomes a pedestrian promenade next April.
Nguyen Huu Tin, vice chairman of the city government, told made the comment to VnExpress on Tuesday during an inspection of the future site.
Tin said few properly understand the project and have expressed concern that if the street is closed to vehicles, it will cause trouble for people working in offices, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls in the area.
“But there will be a time frame for vehicles to pass through the area, like in other countries,” the VnExpress quoted Tin as saying.
The city plans to make Nguyen Hue, Dong Khoi and a part of Le Loi and Ham Nghi streets more pedestrian-friendly, he said.
To ensure that vehicle traffic ends at certain times, the new promenade will be lined with “smart pillars” which will shut off the streets at designated times to prevent vehicles from entering closed roads.
Tin said that part of the upgrade will be finished by the Lunar New Year festival, which lands on February 19, 2015.
City locals and visitors have grown familiar with crowds jostling through flowery Nguyen Hue every Tet season.
This February, the flower road will shift to Ham Nghi to accommodate construction.
The entire project is scheduled to finish by April 25 next year, and cost VND430 billion (US$20.2 million), according to the vice chairman who oversees the city’s traffic management.
The street, which is 670 meters long and 64 meters wide, will host 3D art events and colorfully lit water fountains to entertain the public at night.
Tin said relevant agencies should start gathering ideas for fountains which will serve as the street’s major attraction.
Since a pedestrian street will raise the parking demands in the area, the city has begun work on five underground parking lots at September 23rd Park, on Ton Duc Thang Street, at Le Van Tam Park and at Trong Dong Theater on Nguyen Du Street.
The government is currently pushing the projects, which have all fallen behind schedule.
The $100-million lot at Le Van Tam Park, for example, started in 2010 but red tape stalled construction, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon reported.
Le Tuan, general director of the Investment Development of Underground Space Corporation, said construction can only start next February at the earliest.
Tuan said they've been asked to basically start at square one, in terms of the paperwork process.
The corporation must complete a new technical design, then submit it to the Construction Ministry and finally present it to the Ho Chi Minh City Construction Department for a permit.