Twelve subprojects belonging to Vietnam’s North-South Expressway project are only five percent complete after six months of construction due to a shortage of materials, putting the project about 50 percent behind schedule, according to the Ministry of Transport.
The 12 subprojects broke ground on January 1 of this year and were expected to be 35 percent complete by the end of December, according to a statement on the supply of materials to the project sent to the prime minister.
As required by the prime minister, the minister of transport established two working teams to inspect rock, sand, and soil mines, as well as work with the People’s Committees of the localities which will house the expressway, in order to evaluate the supply of materials and remove obstacles.
According to the two working teams, the subprojects from north-central Ha Tinh Province to south-central Khanh Hoa Province need some 17.37 million cubic meters of rock. The caveat is, however, that the mines used to source rock for such projects top out at a combined total capacity of 9.56 million cubic meters per year.
As a result, leaders are looking at ways to increase the capacities of such mines.
The subprojects also need around 9.67 million cubic meters of sand, 4.29 million cubic meters of which will be exploited from 82 currently operational mines. The remainder will be extracted from 16 untapped mines.
Moreover, some 47.1 million cubic meters of soil is needed for the subprojects, with 5.14 million cubic meters set to be exploited from 21 operational mines and 41.96 million cubic meters planned to come from untapped mines.
Contractors have so far registered to exploit 53.31 million cubic meters of soil but they have got a mere 6.41 million cubic meters from nine mines, meeting just 15 percent of the demand.
For the subprojects between Can Tho – Hau Giang and Hau Giang – Ca Mau, the localities have ensured the supply of 1.37 million cubic meters of rock and 1.7 million cubic meters of soil.
However, they have only allocated 1.47 million of the 18.07 million cubic meters of sand needed to level the two sections of expressway in the provinces.
In addition, land-related procedures have slowed down the project’s progress and regulations on the submission of money for planting forests to replace deforested land cleared for mines involves an extremely bureaucratic process.
As such, the two teams asked the prime minister to direct the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to issue a resolution which would allow the People’s Committees of the provinces from Ha Tinh to Khanh Hoa to heighten the capacity of licensed and operational sand mines in the Mekong Delta.
They also proposed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development study and oversee the submission of money for planting forests in the localities which have no land for afforestation.
They suggested that the Ministry of Construction cooperate with relevant ministries and localities to instruct investors on determining the prices of materials, while localities will complete procedures to ensure they have sufficient supplies.
The North-South Expressway project was scheduled to be executed in two phases, with phase one lasting from 2017 to 2020 and phase two from 2021 to 2025. The respective length of each phase is 654 and 729 kilometers.
The National Assembly approved phase one in 2017 and phase two in November of last year.
The first phase of the project, which includes 11 subprojects, carried a price tag of VND102.5 trillion (US$4.3 billion).
Meanwhile, the estimated cost for the second phase of the project totaled VND147 trillion ($6.2 billion).
Vietnam expects to finish the second phase in 2025 before the expressway is put into operation in 2026.