Hanoi has long had its bottlenecks. But over the past few years, a number of changes to the road system have helped to ease the fume-infested pain of being stuck in a jam.
One solution has been to build flyovers. Another has been to get rid of traffic lights at big junctions and make traffic turn right for 100m before forcing a U-turn for any vehicle wishing to turn left. It has worked. There is a better flow on streets like Giang Vo, Kim Ma and Nguyen Chi Thanh.
But in some cases, as in where one-way Tran Phu narrows into a single lane as it hits the next thoroughfare of Kim Ma, the only solution has been to knock down houses — in this case colonial era houses — and widen the road.
Two of these projects have been finished before Tet, the most notable is the widening of Tran Phu between Le Truc and Kim Ma. Costing a reported VND426 billion, the road was finished in January, with the official opening on Feb. 15.
In a city not built for cars, changing the infrastructure is painful. But if it makes the traffic flow, then according to the powers that be, it’s worth it.
Even if it means losing some history.