Upgrade of the 3.2 kilometer (2 mile) long street, which connects downtown District 1 with District 2 through Binh Thanh District, was launched in October 2019 at a cost of VND470 billion ($20.39 million).
Work on the section from Ton Duc Thang Street to Thu Thiem Bridge has been completed, with the remaining section from Thu Thiem Bridge to Saigon Bridge still under repair.
Phan Duc, head of the project management board, said it is 70 percent complete and that work would commence through the upcoming Lunar New Year, or Tet, to complete before April 30.
The construction site currently hosts 70 types of machinery, equipment, transport vehicles and about 150 workers, including more than 50 for night shifts.
Near the foot of Saigon Bridge, drill operator Nguyen Truong Phuc works to reduce subsidence, one of the first stages in upgrading the flood-prone street.
“I have been working here for two months, mainly at night. It’s quite stressful, operating the machine all night and concentrating for long hours,” the 32-year-old said.
A few meters away, Ngoc Nam repairs drills chipped during construction.
Near an overpass, a group of workers use excavators and dump trucks to relocate the old drainage system to replace with a new version.
Workers from Gia Dinh Water Supply Company install a new water supply pipe. Affected families are usually informed before work commences at night to avoid disturbances.
The upgrade will see the road surface rise from 0.5 to 1.2 meters. Low-lying houses on both sides will benefit from new, wide sidewalks accessible via three-step staircases.
Bulldozers operate at the intersection of Dien Bien Phu and Nguyen Huu Canh streets.
Built in 1997 and opened to traffic in 2002, the VND420 billion ($18.1 million) Nguyen Huu Canh Street was expected to improve traffic flow in HCMC.
But not long after its opening, the street subsided and began flooding each time it rained.
Tran Van Cuong guides a pump into a manhole on a newly-surfaced road section.
As temperature drops to 19 degrees Celsius at night, Dao Van Xuyen, 40, often wraps himself in a scarf, two layers of T-shirts, and a pair of gloves.
Xuyen only moved to HCMC two months ago. His main work involves leveling crushed stones, watering and pouring concrete. He often chooses to work the night shift because the salary is higher than the day shift, at about VND500,000 ($21.64) per night.
“For me, this job is quite suitable since it doesn’t require high expertise but pays well. I’ll try earn some money to return home to celebrate Tet,” the worker from Thai Binh Province in northern Vietnam said.
At about 2 a.m., Dang Minh Tri eats a cup of instant noodles. He works about four nights a week drilling and mixing mortar.
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