THAI NGUYEN PROVINCE, VIETNAM – June 13 – 14, 2016: ICEM Hosted Bioengineering Workshop: Design & Construction (Roads)

On the 13th and 14th of June, 2016, together with ADB and MARD, ICEM hosted a Bioengineering Workshop: Design & Construction (Roads) in Thai Nguyen. The workshop is the latest training activity of the ADB project Promoting Climate Resilience in Rural Infrastructure in Northern VietnamThe project aims to demonstrate low cost, easily implementable measures to reduce the vulnerability of rural infrastructure to extreme climate events. Construction works at two riverbank demonstration sites in Bac Kan and Son La were completed last year. Under the maintenance of the community, after one year, the plants have been growing well, especially the Vetiver grass which at some point reached the height of 1.5 to 2 meters.

Following a workshop last year in Bac Kan on bioengineering design and construction for riverbanks, this time the workshop helped participants familiarise themselves with the decision process to determine slope stabilisation treatments for roadside slopes, including the design and construction of bioengineering measures. Participants included representatives from three provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) – Thai Nguyen, Son La, and Bac Kan, leaders of the commune where the demonstration site is located, technical staff from various MARD departments and institutes, the contractors involved in construction of the project’s four demonstration sites, UNDP and engineers from Lao PDR.

The workshop walked participants through the various stages of roadside slope protection, from initial planning and site assessment to selection of options and then design and construction. Mr. Bui Tien Chinh, Deputy Director of Thai Nguyen DARD, expressed that the Department highly evaluated the potential effectiveness of bioengineering measures at the demonstration site in protecting and stabilising the roadside slopes. The commune leaders were also excited about the results so far and would like the technique to be applied to other roads in the commune and then to other provinces and cities in Vietnam.

The workshop also included a visit to the demonstration site under construction on the Linh Nam – Deo Nhau Road, Vo Nhai District, Thai Nguyen Province. Here, participants were able to inspect completed protection works on a fill slope and ongoing installation of protection measures on a cut slope, and then to compare these with conditions on adjacent unprotected cut and fill slopes.

 

Slope protection measures being installed at the demonstration site include brush layers, vetiver grass lines, live fences, fascines, palisades, jute netting with mulch and grass seeding, and hardened slope protection using masonry frames with both drystone infill and grass planting. Despite hot weather and a need for watering, the plants on the fill slope are showing initial signs of growth.

 

 

After the site visit, participants discussed project effectiveness, benefits and challenges. A particular concern was safety during construction, especially the lack of a safety culture and little safety awareness amongst workers. Commune leaders spoke about how local people residents had been encouraged to provide significant support for the project and how happy they were to have employment opportunities that they had never have before. Participants also provided their opinions on how the community can continue to be made aware of, help maintain and even promote the results of the project. Many participants acknowledged that community participation is critical for the sustainability of the project.

 

Following the workshop, the next steps will be the completion of the remaining construction work and the establishment of a physical monitoring system at the roadside demonstration in Thai Nguyen, the start of construction work at the last demonstration site (another road) in Son La, and the monitoring of all four demonstration sites. In the second half of 2016, ICEM will host a final workshop on lessons learnt, hand over monitoring of the demonstration sites to MARD, and develop and disseminate knowledge products (technical recommendations).