Flyovers may have eased traffic jams slightly, but their temporary usefulness many not outweigh their long-term shortcomings.
Architects and urban planning experts have voiced their concerns at plans by municipal authorities to increasingly resort to flyovers as a measure to overcome gridlocked traffic.
After three months of construction, Ha Noi opened two flyovers on April 26 at the two busy crossroads of Chua Boc- Thai Ha – Tay Son and Lang Ha - Thai Ha – Huynh Thuc Khang. The easing of traffic thanks to the flyovers has prompted local leaders to rush into building more flyovers at crossroads that suffer from congestion.
Earlier this month, the construction of two new flyers was kicked off.
At a recent meeting with relevant agencies, deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee Nguyen Van Khoi called for three more flyovers by the end of this year.
Construction expert Ho Tuan Sy expressed his scepticism over the focus on flyovers, saying that authorities were being too hasty in planning to build so many flyovers during such a short time.
"I am also afraid that the introduction of such flyovers might disrupt the city's streetscape," he said.
According to Sy, the two newly-opened flyovers were an eyesore, turning the surrounding streetscape into an ugly concrete jungle.
This view was echoed by deputy chairman of the Ha Noi Urban Planning and Architect Association Dao Ngoc Nghiem. He said that while the surrounding streetscape was different from one crossroad to another, the design was exactly the same.
"What would happen to Ha Noi's landscape if suddenly there were a dozen clones of these existing flyovers across the city," he said.
Nghiem said authorities had not succeeded in ensuring effective transport planning when the city's boundaries expanded in 2008.
"Because of the lack of that plan, we now have no choice but to rely on quick fixes," he said.
Sy said it was still not clear where the best places were for any new flyovers in the city.
Ha Noi planned to put flyovers at crowded places such as hospitals and universities but according to the city master plan, such hospitals and universities will be moved to other areas, making these flyovers no longer necessary.
"Decisions on building flyovers at certain locations must be made in the bigger context of the capital's transportation plan," he said. "It can't be solely made on the factor of where traffic jams often happen."
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