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Key traffic projects move slowly though fully funded

HCMC – Despite a stricter control on public investment, the Ministry of Transport last year gave sufficient funds to the key traffic projects, but they are still moving at a snail’s pace.

Behind schedule

The majority of the slow-moving projects are large-scale expressway projects, according to the Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau under the transport ministry.

Many projects have got going when fully funded but failed to keep to their schedules. Previously, these projects suffered financial distress, but now they face the lack of sites for development.

The Hanoi-Haiphong Expressway is one of the slow-moving projects. After three years of construction, there is one package only 20% completed and a few others 45%.

Site clearance cannot be carried out at certain points along the route, making contractors unable to fulfill their jobs. Another reason for the slow progress is technical design adjustment.

Similarly, the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway project got off the ground in September 2009, but the project owner, Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), said only 26.4% of the workload had been done and 26.7% of the contract value had been disbursed.

Site clearance is assigned to related localities. However, there are still many bottlenecks, especially in Vinh Phuc Province, according to the transport ministry.

As for the Nhat Tan Bridge project in Hanoi, the Japanese contractor Tokyu has recently demanded the project owner to pay a compensation of VND200 billion for slow handover of cleared site. Although it is a key project connecting downtown Hanoi to Noi Bai International Airport, Nhat Tan Bridge is now two years behind schedule.

Meanwhile, in the southern region, the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway has been 70% completed after three years of construction, failing to be finished in late 2012 as planned.

Apart from expressways, metro lines in the nation’s two biggest cities Hanoi and HCMC are also progressing slowly.

In Hanoi, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong Metro Line is two years behind schedule. In HCMC, the Metro Line No. 1 was kicked off in August 2012 after many years of delay.

Incompetent contractors to be eliminated

At an online review conference in January, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said the ministry would accelerate the key traffic projects, with an aim of putting the three expressways Hanoi-Lao Cai, Hanoi-Thai Nguyen and HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay into use by late this year.

In addition to slow site clearance and technical design adjustment, limited capability of contractors is one of the reasons why many projects are lagging behind schedule, he said.

Therefore, the transport ministry will classify investors and contractors into three grades A, B and C. Those meeting the standards of one of these grades can only develop the projects of such grade.

By Le Anh - The Saigon Times Daily


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