Central Vietnam tunnel remains open to traffic despite financial woes

By Doan Loan   February 21, 2021 | 09:08 pm GMT+7
Central Vietnam tunnel remains open to traffic despite financial woes
The Hai Van Tunnel 2 in operation. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
The Hai Van Tunnel 2 will remain open to traffic despite an investor announcing its closure because it had become financially unviable.

Ngo Truong Nam, General Director of Deo Ca Group, the private side of the public-private-partnership (PPP) that built the tunnel, said Sunday morning that the company was continuing to operate the Hai Van Tunnel 2 to help reduce traffic congestion and boost public convenience.

Vehicles can pass both Hai Van Tunnel 1 and 2 in two directions as they move between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang, paying unchanged fees at the Bac Hai Van toll booth.

Nam said that in 20 days of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, 11,000 to 14,000 vehicles used the tunnel a day. With clear visibility, the average speed of vehicles increased from 45 to 65 km/h, reducing the time taken to pass the tunnel from 15 to just six minutes.

Since the Hai Van Tunnel 1 is also in operation, the congestion on Highway 1 connecting Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue has been reduced.

Back in January, Deo Ca Group had said the tunnel would only allow traffic for 20 days starting February 1 before closing. It costs the company VND100 billion ($4.3 million) a year to operate the tunnel, but it was facing financial troubles since it has not received the government’s contribution of VND1.18 trillion ($51.2 million), the company said.

The Hai Van Tunnel 2 was part of a PPP master plan, along with three other tunnels in the central region to be built at a total cost of VND21.61 trillion.

The other three have opened to traffic and the government has paid its share in two of the projects.

In a meeting at the end of January, concerned ministries and departments agreed to report to the prime minister on allocating VND1.18 trillion to support the project in the public investment plan for the 2021-2025 period.

"We request that the government helps resolve the financial problems soon so that the Hai Van Tunnel 2 can have a stable operating budget," Nam said.

The Hai Van Tunnel 2 is the longest road tunnel in Southeast Asia at 6.2 kilometers (3.85 miles). It aims to help reduce traffic in the previously existing tunnel 30 meters away. It opened to traffic on January 11 this year after four years of construction.

 
 
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