Opinion / Opinion Line

Overpass an example of poor decision-making

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-21 07:42

THE LONGHAI EXPRESS ROAD overpass in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan province, which cost about 650 million yuan ($97 million) and took over two years to build, was opened just two months ago but is already overburdened with heavy traffic leading to congestions. Beijing News commented on Tuesday:

Not much can be done to smooth the flow of traffic on the overcrowded overpass, although relevant departments have been urged to come up with a corrective plan as soon as possible. Ironically, the costly overpass was designed to reduce traffic pressure, and the changes the authorities intend to make now could have been made before it was opened to the public.

However, its designers refuse to admit that their original plan has failed. Instead, they argue that the sharp increase in the number of vehicles in recent years is to blame for the problem. But many of them had said the traffic volume was unlikely to reach saturation point even after 2030, so the overpass would serve its intended purpose.

Such an amateur attitude makes one wonder whether the giant construction project was improvised by the local authorities. In fact, both urban planning experts and ordinary citizens had bitterly opposed the plan before it was implemented. Had the designers accepted some of their suggestions, the overpass would not have been in a mess just two months into operation.

It is a bit late now to make amendments to the project. Reducing the nine traffic lanes to four, the poorly designed overpass is probably the result of "by-the-book" planning, which apparently did not consider the suggestions of "real professionals", such as traffic police.

The overpass is an example of bad decision-making and the lack of scientific planning in many failed urban construction projects. Urban planners need to solicit the opinions of experts and ordinary people both before they press ahead with a major project.

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