Completion of first HCMC metro line delayed again

By Gia Minh   September 8, 2021 | 12:36 am PT
Completion of first HCMC metro line delayed again
A metro train of HCMC's metro line No.1 is installed onto the track in Thu Duc City, June 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Not until late 2023 or early 2024 would HCMC’s metro line No. 1 be complete, with the pandemic to blame.

The line, which will run 19.7 kilometers from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien theme park in Thu Duc City, is now 87.5 percent complete.

After several previous delays, it had been scheduled for completion by this year’s end to start operation in 2022.

But the investor, HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), has said that by the year’s end, the project would only be 91 percent complete and that it would not be ready before late 2023 or early 2024.

In a report sent to the municipal Transport Department on Tuesday, the MAUR ascribed the latest delay to the impacts of Covid in the past two years.

Since the pandemic appeared in 2020, project construction has faced many difficulties in human resources.

Along with measures to ensure social distancing, the number of staff working at once has "significantly dropped."

Meanwhile, many workers have been stuck in Covid-19 blockaded areas and could not attend work while travel restrictions among localities have prevented contractors to recruit new staff.

The investor added that from the beginning of last year until now, many foreign experts have not been able to enter the country, which has "seriously" affected progress.

Due to the pandemic, the project was only 82 percent complete by the end of 2020 instead of 85 percent as targeted.

In addition to the pandemic, the project has faced several legal problems due to the lengthy implementation process.

The MAUR has proposed shortening the quarantine period for experts that have received two doses of vaccine and have a valid negative test result for Covid-19.

HCMC’s No.1 metro line was approved in 2007 but it was not until 2012 that work started on the project.

Costing more than VND43.7 trillion ($1.89 billion), the project will have 14 stations, three underground and 11 on the surface, some elevated.

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