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$1.6bn expressway deteriorates after rains

Many potholes have appeared on the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway just a short time after being put into operation while investors claimed that the damage was caused by rain and not low construction quality.

Potholes on Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway
Potholes on Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway

The project’s investor, Vietnam Expressway Corporation, confirmed the damage and said that they were filling the holes. Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway Project Management Director Nguyen Tien Thanh said the potholes were only detected on some sections so the construction quality wasn’t the issue.

Many clusters of five to 10 potholes are mostly found along the road from Tam Ky to Danang City. The authorities are still monitoring other sections. According to Thanh, the road surface at those locations are much weaker than other places since only 3cm deep of the surface is affected.

He pointed out three possible causes including heavy trucks, diesel leaks and rainfall. The traffic volume has increased from 2,000 to 6,000 vehicles a day since the road was opened to traffic. Potholes are usually caused by pounding. The road deteriorates a little day by day and then the surface just comes apart, Thanh said. He went on to say that the rain from October 3 to 5 in this area might be the cause.

“The road was still fine after the rainy season last year. But the first seasonal rains always cause unprecedented damages I can’t explain,” he said. “There’s no large-scale damage found yet to conclude that it is caused by poor concrete quality.”

According to Thanh they also hired foreign contractors but the potholes are on sections built by domestic contractors. The project is guaranteed for two years so the repair cost will be covered by the contractors.

The Minister of Transport, Nguyen Van The on Thursday requested that the investor must stop collecting fees on this road from October 12 until they complete the repair.

The first 65km road section of the 140km Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway in the central region of Vietnam was put into operation on August 2. This is the first expressway in the central and Central Highlands region. The construction was started in May 2013. It has a total USD1.6bn investment, including USD789m from the Japanese International Co-operation Agency and USD590m from the World Bank.