Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Saturday required the construction of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line to be completed by September 2 this year, four months ahead of schedule.
The government leader on Saturday afternoon inspected some key traffic infrastructure projects in the southern Vietnamese metropolis, including the first metro line, which spans 19.7 kilometers from Ben Thanh Station in District 1 to Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.
He took a test run on the metro line, saying it is a symbolic project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relations.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen join a delegation to inspect the construction site of the first metro line of Ho Chi Minh City, April 15, 2023. Photo: MAUR|
Obstacles to the project have been basically removed. Relevant agencies are also resolving the financial issues of Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railways No. 1 Co. Ltd., the operator of the metro line, city authorities reported to the prime minister.
The company’s employees have not received salaries and social insurance premiums since August 2021, currently valued at VND6.7 billion (US$285,801).
Up to 21 out of 36 employees of the company have quit despite a need for 706 laborers to operate and maintain the metro line.
Contractors have also asked the company to dispatch human resources for training and technology transfer since last month but the firm has yet to meet the requirement.
PM Chinh asked Ho Chi Minh City to complete the planning for its metro line system and early kick off the 3a metro line project connecting Ben Thanh Station and Tan Kien Station in Binh Chanh District, using Japan’s new-generation official development assistance (ODA) loans.
|A train carries Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s delegation on a section of the metro line in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, April 15, 2023. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
The prime minister also talked with Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio at the construction site of the first metro line.
He thanked the ambassador for urging Japan to offer new-generation ODA loans to Vietnam and suggested Japan continue supporting Vietnam in developing traffic infrastructure facilities, including express railways.
The first metro line in Ho Chi Minh City is over 94 percent complete.
Prior to the prime minister’s requirement to complete the project by September 2, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee adjusted the expected completion date for the project to the end of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the late signing of an appendix of the consultancy contract.
The project was approved in 2007 with an initial investment of over VND17 trillion ($725.2 million).
Work on the project started in August 2012 and was scheduled to be completed in 2018.
The project saw its estimated investment revised up to VND43.7 trillion ($1.9 billion) and planned completion delayed to the last quarter of 2021 due to multiple bottlenecks.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s delegation speaks during his inspection of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, April 15, 2023. Photo: MAUR|
|A train carries Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s delegation through a metro line section in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, April 15, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre|
|A train carries Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s delegation to a metro station at the Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, April 15, 2023. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre|
Ordering early completion of An Phu Interchange project
PM Chinh on Saturday also inspected the construction site of the An Phu Interchange project in Thu Duc City and asked relevant units to spend efforts completing the project soon.
He asked the Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority of Ho Chi Minh City to mobilize resources to conduct the project in accordance with a detailed road map, regularly inspect its progress, and report hurdles to the municipal Party Committee and People’s Committee.
He stressed that public investment is one of the three driving forces of Vietnam’s growth and helps boost the country’s socio-economic recovery and development.
Key traffic projects make up 60 percent of Ho Chi Minh City’s public investment. Therefore, the city should try to achieve the target of disbursing over 95 percent of the allocated public investment this year, at VND70 trillion ($3 billion).
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh inspects the construction site of the An Phu Interchange project in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, April 15, 2023. Photo: Vietnam Government Portal|
The An Phu Interchange project, which upon completion will connect the Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway with Mai Chi Tho Boulevard in order to ease traffic pressure on one of the worst bottlenecks in the southern metropolis, carries a price tag of VND3.4 trillion ($148 million).
The project, including 10-to-12 lane roads, three tunnels with four lanes each, and flyovers with two lanes each, will be executed until 2025.
The interchange project is expected to become the largest and most beautiful intersection in Ho Chi Minh City once it is complete.
At present, up to 30,000 vehicles, including 20,000 trailer trucks, pass through the intersection per day.