Hanoi Highway expansion project has been implemented to reduce traffic jam in northeast gateway to the city.
The upgraded stretch has the total length of 15.7 kilometers starting from Saigon Bridge to Dong Nai bridge. Although construction started in April 2010 by HCMC Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII), the work has still been half-done for the last eight years.
CII says that the lateness has been due to slow site clearance and handover especially in District 9 and Binh Duong province.
Director of Hanoi Highway expansion project Nguyen Thanh Nam said that 75 percent of the work’s volume has been done and disbursement has reached VND2,617 billion (US$112.18 million).
Initial investment capital has increased to VND4,905 billion from the initial number of VND2.5 trillion ($107.25 million) because of long lasting construction and some items supplementation and adjustment.
HCMC People’s Committee has approved to extend the deadline to complete the work until 2018, five years behind initial plan.
Besides difficulties in site clearance, CII has been concerned that the project construction will be slow because Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line progress has been extended to wait for funding.
The two projects have many overlapped items. On the same construction site, Hanoi Highway is expanded on the ground while the metro line is constructed above the ground. Therefore, the construction of Hanoi Highway has much depended on Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro route progress especially in Districts 2 and 9.
Similarly, other road expanding projects have seen prolong construction. Vo Van Kiet Boulevard was put into operation in 2009. This is an important radial road of HCMC linking up the Mekong Delta and the southeastern region. Still, the route has regularly been congested in An Lac crossroads in the western entrance gateway to the city where the ending part of Vo Van Kiet boulevard has not been connected with HCMC-Trung Luong expressway.
Therefore, the city started work on a 2.7 kilometer road to connect the boulevard and the expressway in 2015. It is expected to be done after 20 months of construction. However, the work has still been in the way after three years of building because of site clearance.
The project requires site clearance of over 29 hectares in Tan Kien commune, Binh Chanh district.
According to Site Clearance Compensation Board in Binh Chanh, site clearance and handover progress has approximated 80 percent with 200 out of 250 households having removed. Nevertheless, the project’s investor said that the site handover has been scattered so it has been unable to construct the road. Some households have disagreed with handing over their land so they have not let construction units to take machines in the construction site.
Meantime, 14 out of 64 kilometers of Ring Road No.2 have not been built including eight kilometers in District 9 and Thu Duc and six kilometers in District 8 and Binh Chanh.
Besides the under construction stretch from Pham Van Dong street to Go Dua intersection, HCMC has been calling on investors for other stretches from An Lac roundabout to Nguyen Van Linh street, Phu Huu bridge in District 9 to Phan Van Dong street in Thu Duc. The city has set a target of building the ring road before 2020.
Mr. Le Ngoc Hung, director of Urban Transport Management Department No.1, which the city Department of Transport has assigned to manage traffic in eastern HCMC, said that contractors’ preparation of machines and equipment has been quite sufficient. The investor has also prepared funds for the project. Construction now just waits for site handover.
The Department of Transport says that HCMC plans to implement 172 traffic projects with the total capital of VND320 trillion ($13.72 billion) in the phase of 2016-2020. However capital shortage and slow site handover in projects with available funds have made the target unlikely obtainable.
This year, the city will start work on some major traffic projects such as Nam Ly bridge connecting District 2 and 9 with the total cost of nearly VND860 billion, Road D1 connecting Saigon University with Nguyen Van Linh street and Him Lam residential area at the total cost of VND300 billion, a road linking Ba Chiem bridge intersection up to Hiep Phuoc industrial park at VND411 billion.
Deputy director of the Transport Department Nguyen Van Tam said that the progress of many traffic works has not been as expected in the city this year because of site clearance problems. Long lasting construction has highly increased costs for investors as well as construction units.
HCMC is now improving a site clearance coordination process among relevant agencies. It is hoped to be a feasible solution to solve difficulties in site clearance for technical infrastructure in general and traffic projects in separate.