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Hanoi scrambles to complete traffic works in battle against congestion

By Staff reporters   September 18, 2022 | 07:44 pm PT
Hanoi authorities are speeding up work on key traffic projects to improve the poorish infrastructure and relieve the worsening congestion.

The elevated section of Nhon – Hanoi Station Metro

A train during a trial run of the elevated section of the Nhon - Hanoi Station metro line. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

A train during a trial run of the elevated section of the Nhon - Hanoi Station metro line. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Despite a fifth postponement of work this month, the elevated part of the Nhon – Hanoi Station metro line might come into operation in late 2022, helping reduce the dense traffic on Highway 32 – Xuan Thuy Street.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Hanoi officials have reiterated their concerns over the multiple delays, and urged the builders to resolve all bottlenecks and speed up the work. During a visit to the construction site last month Chinh ordered completion of the elevated section by no later than December 31 this year.

The 8.5-kilometer elevated section is more than 96 percent complete.

The Nhon-Hanoi Station metro work began in 2009 and was scheduled to finish in 2015. But it has suffered five delays and the latest due date for the entire route is 2027, meaning it will take nearly 20 years to build. The delays have resulted in a cost overrun of VND1.9 trillion ($80.77 million), to VND34.8 trillion.

It has made only about 75 percent progress and no due date has been set for the four-kilometer underground section from Kim Ma to Hanoi Station.

The central and city governments are hoping the metro's advanced features will make it popular with commuters, but the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line is the only completed one so far, leaving them with limited choice.

Le Van Luong underpass

Le Van Luong underpass is under construction in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

Le Van Luong underpass is under construction in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

The tunnel is a key project on which work is underway at a cost of VND700 billion ($29.6 million). The underground road is aimed at easing the chaos that has long plagued the Le Van Luong-Khuat Duy Tien intersection in Thanh Xuan District, 8 km from Hanoi center.

The 475-meter tunnel has a concrete structure and steel core, and consists of two separate 7.75-meter wide underpasses with two lanes for each direction. On the surface, the pavements have been cropped on both sides, creating space for two more lanes in addition to the current eight.

The two main underground roads below Khuat Duy Tien Street have been asphalted, scheduled to be finished on October 10, Hanoi Liberation Day. The deadline has been extended by 18 months from the original April 2021.

The Le Van Luong tunnel is regarded as the most complex among several similar projects in Hanoi, considering the narrow construction space and high traffic density. Besides, tons of telecom cables, water pipes and other structures were relocated for the construction, and the rainy season forced the contractors to set up pumps.

When finished, the tunnel will clear a bottleneck on the route between the city center and new suburban areas such as Ha Dong via Thanh Xuan District. Thus, it is expected to make a significant difference to the city’s transport infrastructure.

Vinh Tuy Bridge Phase 2

Contractors of the VND2.5-trillion road bridge are confident it will be operational by 2023.

Hoang Dinh Hieu, executive director of the bidding package no.3 management board, told VnExpress: "We have completed about 90 percent of the work, which is six months early. We expect to open the road bridge before October 10, 2023."

Vinh Tuy 2 bridge under construction. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Thanh Vu

Vinh Tuy 2 bridge under construction. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Thanh Vu

Once the new dual bridge opens to traffic, Thanh Tri Bridge and Beltway 3 will be unclogged. Together with the elevated Beltway 2, Vinh Tuy Bridge will enhance the connectivity between the city center and the north and northeastern areas of the Red River.

The 3.5-km road starts at the Nguyen Khoai-Minh Khai intersection in Hai Ba Trung District and runs up to the Long Bien - Thach Ban and Co Linh junction in Long Bien District.

The viaduct is 19.25 meters wide and has four lanes and is 85 meters above the water.

Elevated section of Ring Road 2

The road is on schedule, with four out of six construction packages finished.

It is 70 percent complete, and that includes some complex works. On March 24 the longest and highest decks were concreted and assembled above Nga Tu Vong (Vong Crossroad), the most intricate part of the construction, considering its record height of 28 meters or 1.5 times that of similar elevated roads in the city.

Several portions are reported to be ahead of schedule.

Pham Hong Van, director of the project, said on July 14 in an interview: "We are working on the last closure segment. Our building package will finish a month earlier than expected."

Hanois Ring Road 2 has some unfinished parts, July 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Hanoi's Ring Road 2 has some unfinished parts, July 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Vingroup, the developer, hopes that the entire construction would conclude by December 15 this year allowing load testing, inspection and road safety review to be done and approved by December 30.

That means it might open to traffic before the planned due date of June 2023.

When finished, the elevated roadway and the one widened below will improve traffic circulation from the west to the south and east of the city.

The work consists of one main highway and three approaches. The road is 5.1 kilometers long and 19 meters wide, and the approaches are seven meters wide.

On the ground, the existing road from Vinh Tuy to Nga Tu Vong is being widened to 53.5 – 63.5 meters. It will have eight lanes, including six for cars and bikes. The pavements are being widened to four to six meters.

 
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