HA NOI — A lack of facilities to weigh lorries is preventing management offices from being able to protect roads and bridges and ensure traffic safety, according to experts from the Ministry of Transport's Directorate for Roads.
The country's roads total nearly 280,000km with 93 highways measuring nearly 17,000km but there are only two weighing stations that lack both equipment and manpower.
Meanwhile, the number of vehicles on the road is growing fast beyond capacity.
Highway 1A from Ha Noi to Vinh City, which was upgraded and opened to traffic in 1997, can serve 6,000 cars a day but statistics from the Doan Vi Station in Ninh Binh Province showed that in 2004, an average of 16,500 cars used the highway per day.
Statistics from road management offices also showed that 28 per cent of vehicles using Highway 3 and 30 per cent of vehicles on Highway No 5 were overloaded.
Bridges can stand a weight of about 30 tonnes, but many containers weigh 36-45 tonnes.
In a document regarding the Road Traffic Law issued in 2008, the Ministry of Transport regulated the weight a lorry could be, the circulation of overloaded lorries and transportation of overweight goods.
The ministry's Decision 60 issued in 2007 also regulated the queuing limit of lorries on roads, and Decision 63 issued in the same year regulated the transportation of heavy goods, but these regulations were not effective.
"The regulation raised difficulties for transportation enterprises, and most containers violated regulations," said Nguyen Khanh Toan, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Car Transport Association.
The Department of Science and Technology has asked the Ministry of Transport to add more regulations about weights, roads and loading capacities.
For instance, if a bridge is upgraded, management bodies will have to limit the number of vehicles, their weight and the speed at which they cross the bridge.
Department director Hoang Ha said regulations were being completed and signs were being installed outlining loading capacities on highways that served industrial zones.
"The department will also have a specific plan to verify the capacity of bridges to submit to the Ministry of Transport," he said.
Meanwhile, deputy director of the Ministry of Transport's Department of Infrastructure Mai Van Hong said that the ministry was drafting a circular to replace Decision 60.
The circular would have clearer regulations regarding the weight of specific vehicles.
Procedures to apply for a heavy goods lorry license would also be simplified. — VNS