Long holiday weekend, highest traffic congestion since Covid began
The COVID virus has been declining steadily in recent weeks, with the daily average number of cases dropping by 90,145 on average from the previous week. This decrease is likely due to increased vaccination rates and general public safety initiatives.
With the pandemic gradually been brought under control in Vietnam, traffic has slowly returned to "normal". On both April 30 and May 1, which were also weekends, Reunification Day and International Labor Day, resulting in a four-day holiday, and the biggest traffic jam since COVID-19 hit.
On May 1 three more lanes for collecting tolls on the Hanoi – Lao Cai Expressway to the China border was opened to cope with a sudden surge in the number of vehicles.
On the morning of April 30, due to heavy congestion, two toll booths on the Phap Van – Cau Gie – Ninh Binh Expressway between Hanoi and other northern localities had to stop operating twice for 54 minutes and 10 minutes to let vehicles pass through freely.
A booth on the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway between HCMC and Dong Nai Province was shut for more than two hours on April 30 and four more times on May 2, each lasting around 15 minutes.
A station collecting toll for the Rach Mieu Bridge between Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces in the Mekong Delta stopped functioning four different times on April 29 and for nearly three hours the next morning and more than three and a half hours on May 2 afternoon.
Two stations on National Highways 51 and 1 in Dong Nai Province also closed down several times on May 2.
Many people traveling from HCMC to the Mekong Delta on April 29 and 30 reported "severe" traffic congestion, with some saying the trip took them 16 hours instead of the usual six.
If a 700m traffic jam at a toll station causes a backup of vehicles, the toll station must stop operation and allow cars to pass without having to pay any fees - Ministry of Transport regulations. Also noted, there were 104 traffic accidents in which 55 people died and 84 others were injured during the holidays. It seems that while traffic is slowly getting busier, it still comes with a fair share of issues.
Be vigilant and protect yourself and your family, whether you are stuck on traffic for hours, or at home, from all the rising fume levels.