According to the latest adjustment, the project will be completed in 2021, meaning six years behind plan.
For the last many years, residents living along the route have to suffer dust, traffic jam and unsafety conditions. Xuan Thuy street, home to many universities, is nearly congested every day because of the project’s road works.
85 year old Hoang Anh Tuan says that local people want the project to soon complete so that their life can return back to normal but they have seen only few workers on the construction site or even no workers in some stretches.
After a worker carelessly dropped a five kilogram steel pipe on the nearby pavement, worrying locals, Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board and French Systra consultant company asked contractors to stop construction and review labor safety operations.
Previously, the project was halted after two consecutive labor unsafety cases, threatening passers in 2015. Of these, a crane suddenly fell onto two houses in Cau Giay street, hurting two people. A 10 meter iron beam fell in front of the house at number 265 Ho Tung Mau street, Tu Liem district, Hanoi. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Price up, progress down
Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station stretching 12.5 kilometers comprise 12 stations, designed with the permissible speed of 80 kilometers an hour and maximum capacity of 1,100 passenger. Traveling from the start point to the end of the route takes 20 minutes.
Starting in 2006 with the total capital of EUR783 million from official development and reciprocal funds, the project was scheduled to be built in 2010.
However, the work was put off and restarted in September 2010. Afterwards, it continued deferring until 2015. Price escalation has rocketed investment capital by EUR393 million to EUR1,176 billion.
Another credit agreement with French Development Agency was signed in 2016 to supplement an extra of EUR69 million for the project, raising the total amount to EUR1,245 billion. The deadline to complete the project was lengthened to 2018 and recently to till 2021.
Site clearance and slow construction of main bid packages have been believed to be the top reason for the sluggish progress and capital skyrocket.
The investor of the bid package no.1 has many times changed construction firms for poor capacity. The contractor of the third package has demanded US$40 million in contract cost raise due to slow site clearance. Sytra consultant required an extra of $23 million to extending contract time.
Deputy chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung admitted that the project’s capital skyrocket has been because the project’s unexperienced and unqualified investor has much depended on foreign consultants who have not had profound understanding of Vietnam’s regulations.
According to head of the Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board Nguyen Cao Minh, the Hanoi People’s Committee has made drastic instructions in site clearance after deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung required to speed up the project to solve traffic jam inner the city.
Some bid packages have showed positive changes but some have still been slow because of problems in bidding process and assessment, technical design approval and estimates.
So far, only 40 percent of work on stations on the ground has completed while underground stations have not started construction. Ngoc Khanh station alone faces residents’ objections because of substandard designs.
The Government’s inspectorate has decided to launch an overall inspection over the project from May 16 to June 26. With current problems, experts worried that the project will continue delaying after 2021.