As the year-end travel and shopping demands increase, traffic congestion has become a significant issue near Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCMC) Tan Son Nhat Airport. The influx of visitors to the airport, ongoing construction, and overloaded infrastructure have contributed to the jammed roads and frustrated commuters. This article will delve into the reasons behind the congestion and explore potential solutions to manage traffic effectively during peak periods.
Current Traffic Situation
Congested Entrances to Tan Son Nhat Airport
Over the past few days, the roads leading towards the entrance of Tan Son Nhat Airport, especially in Tan Binh District, have experienced heavy traffic even outside of rush hours. The Lang Cha Ca roundabout, at the intersection of Tran Quoc Hoan, Cong Hoa, Hoang Van Thu, and Thang Long, has become a bottleneck with vehicles inching forward. Cars and motorbikes jostle for space, causing frustration and long wait times for commuters.
Severely Jammed Routes
Cong Hoa route, the main road connecting District 12, Tan Phu, Tan Binh Districts, and downtown areas, has been severely congested. Despite its designed capacity for vehicles to run at 60 kph, it now takes commuters over 30 minutes to traverse a 3-km section from the Lang Cha Ca roundabout to Truong Chinh Street. This situation poses a nightmare for office workers and travelers who frequently use Cong Hoa Street.
Hotspots of Congestion
The Cong Hoa-Hoang Hoa Tham intersection, despite the presence of an overpass, has emerged as a significant congestion hotspot. Morning and afternoon re-routing measures have proven insufficient due to the overwhelming number of vehicles. Similarly, the Lang Cha Ca roundabout and the Tran Quoc Hoan-Phan Thuc Duyen intersection near Hoang Van Thu park have also experienced frequent congestion. Ongoing construction for the Tran Quoc Hoan-Cong Hoa connective road project has further exacerbated the traffic situation in these areas.
Increasing Visitor Numbers
Adding to the congestion, the number of visitors to Tan Son Nhat Airport has been steadily rising, rebounding to pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. In the first 10 months of this year alone, the airport welcomed over 34 million visitors, representing a 22% increase compared to the same period last year. As the Tet holiday approaches, daily visitor numbers are expected to reach 135,000-140,000, further straining the already burdened traffic infrastructure.
Causes of Traffic Congestion
High Traffic Density
The combination of heightened year-end travel and shopping demands, along with the presence of numerous offices and service centers around the airport, contributes to the unavoidable traffic congestion. The traffic police, along with the police forces of Tan Binh, Go Vap, and Phu Nhuan districts, monitor the situation closely and restrict vehicles from entering congested areas when necessary. A quick-response team at the airport is also prepared to address any traffic-related issues promptly.
The Tan Son Nhat area has seen some infrastructure improvements, including the construction of five overpasses and the expansion of Cong Hoa Road. However, these measures have not been sufficient to alleviate the congestion. The HCMC Department of Transport emphasizes the need for a more effective solution, highlighting the importance of a high-capacity public transport system connecting to the airport and the completion of the Tran Quoc Hoan-Cong Hoa connective road project.
Proposed Solutions to Alleviate Traffic Congestion
Public Transport System Enhancement
The HCMC Department of Transport recognizes the significance of a well-developed public transport system as a long-term solution to ease traffic congestion. By improving the capacity and efficiency of public transportation, more commuters can be encouraged to utilize these services, reducing the number of private vehicles on the roads. The completion of the Tran Quoc Hoan-Cong Hoa connective road project, expected to be operational next year, will provide an additional route for accessing the airport and alleviate the burden on existing roads.
Restricting Truck Access
To further alleviate congestion near Tan Son Nhat Airport, the transport department is considering measures to restrict truck access to the area. By diverting trucks to alternative routes or implementing time-specific bans, the traffic flow can be better managed. This approach will help reduce the number of heavy vehicles on congested roads, creating a smoother commuting experience for all road users.
Continued Infrastructure Development
Despite the ongoing construction projects, the transport department acknowledges the need for continuous infrastructure development to keep pace with the increasing demands. Investments in road expansions, overpasses, and the implementation of smart traffic management systems can significantly contribute to alleviating congestion near the airport. These improvements will enhance traffic flow, minimize delays, and provide a more seamless travel experience for commuters.
As HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat Airport experiences heightened travel and shopping demands, traffic congestion has become a pressing issue for commuters. Overloaded infrastructure, increasing visitor numbers, and ongoing construction projects have contributed to the jammed roads near the airport. However, by implementing long-term solutions such as enhancing the public transport system, restricting truck access, and continuing infrastructure development, the city can effectively manage traffic congestion and provide a smoother travel experience for all.