The Ministry of Transport plans to develop 16 new metro line projects in HCMC and Hanoi, though the existing five projects are facing cost overruns and slow execution.
|Workers in an underground section of Metro Line No. 1 in HCMC. The project has faced slow progress and cost overruns|
Hanoi is expected to have eight metro lines by 2035 with a total length of 305 kilometers. These routes will be expanded to connect with satellite urban areas.
In addition, tramways will be constructed to connect to urban railways.
In particular, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban rail line will be lengthened by an additional 20 kilometers to reach Chuong My District’s Xuan Mai Town, while the third metro line project in Hanoi connecting the Nhon and Hanoi stations will be extended by some 30 kilometers to reach the Son Tay satellite urban area.
In HCMC, eight new metro lines with a total length of 173 kilometers have also been planned. Most of these routes will run underground in the central districts.
Further, the ministry proposed developing three tramways and a monorail line, which will be 57 kilometers long in total, in the city.
Meanwhile, the five existing metro line projects in HCMC and Hanoi are now lagging behind schedule and their costs have surged.
Two of these projects are owned by the HCMC government: the first metro line project connecting Ben Thanh Market in District 1 with Suoi Tien Park in District 9 and the second metro line linking Ben Thanh Market and Tham Luong Depot in District 12. Meanwhile, the metro line in Hanoi is funded by the Hanoi government.
The remaining two foot-dragging projects are funded by the Ministry of Transport: the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project and the metro line No. 1 project in Hanoi linking the Yen Vien and Ngoc Hoi stations.
As for the progress of these projects, HCMC’s first metro line is 66.79% complete. Only one package of the second metro line project in the city---the management office building and the depot---have been completed. The city is choosing contractors for the remaining packages.
The metro line in Hanoi is 55% complete and construction may continue until the end of next year. The municipal Department of Transport is completing the appraisal report for the project and will propose the municipal government approve an extension of the deadline.
Regarding the Cat Linh-Ha Dong project, 99% of the work has been completed. The project is being operated on a trial basis and will be put into commercial operation this year.
In addition, the consulting firm is completing the technical design and calculating the estimated investment for a metro line project in Hanoi linking Yen Vien and Ngoc Hoi stations.
Explaining the cost overruns and slow progress of these projects, the ministry said they are large projects requiring modern technology and are the first metro lines in the country. Therefore, both investors and consulting firms are inexperienced in executing these projects.
Moreover, the site clearance work, especially for the underground sections, has fallen behind schedule and the slow disbursement of official development assistance loans has delayed payments to contractors, resulting in overall delays.
Price escalation and changes in exchange rates were also blamed for the cost overruns. In addition, the consulting firms are inexperienced in executing metro line projects, so the required investments were estimated inaccurately.
According to the ministry, the investors and localities where the metro lines are being developed should bear responsibility for these projects’ slow progress and cost overruns. SGT
The Ministry of Transport has requested the Chinese contractor of Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in Hanoi to commit a specific deadline when the project will be finished.
Work on HCMC’s first metro line is now rescheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with its recently revised deadline of 2020, due to delays in adjustment procedures.