Saigon axes old trees to make way for first metro line

By Quynh Tran   June 13, 2017 | 07:00 pm GMT+7

Timber: The shady canopy covering the city's downtown districts has been given the chop.

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The city lopped down 27 trees along Le Loi Street in District 1 on Tuesday and removed another for replanting to make way for its first metro line.

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“These trees have been here for half a century so it’s sad to see them coming down,” a local named Linh told VnExpress.

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Some of the trees are more than 30 meters high and take tens of workers up to an hour to fell them.

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According to the municipal transport department, many of the trees are too old to be replanted, and the cost of saving them would be five times higher than the city's budget of VND200 million ($8,800) for the work.

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The trees are being cut up into smaller pieces.

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Big sections are being saved for timber.

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The trees as they stood before the city decided to axe them. Since 2014, the city has removed 150 trees in downtown areas to make way for its first subway line, which will run around 20 kilometers from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9. Estimated to cost $2.49 billion, the line will run underground from Ben Thanh Market for 2.6 km past the Opera House and Ba Son Shipyard, and then cross the Saigon River on an elevated track to the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.