Japanese experts cleared to rejoin HCMC's first metro project

By Gia Minh   September 3, 2020 | 11:49 pm PT
Japanese experts cleared to rejoin HCMC's first metro project
A train meant for the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien Metro Line in Ho Chi Minh City at a Japanese factory. Photo courtesy of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways.
Six Japanese experts will arrive on September 18 and be quarantined for 14 days before resuming work on HCMC’s first metro line.

The experts are charged with installing tracks and maintenance equipment before the first train to service the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien Metro Line arrives next month, the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) said Thursday.

The first train, one of 17 to operate on the line, was initially meant to arrive last April. Its delivery was delayed until the third quarter with accompanying Japanese experts due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Vietnam closed its borders and suspended all international flights since late March.

Earlier, two South Korean experts working on the metro line were allowed to enter Vietnam on August 24. After completing 14-day quarantine, they will install the roof of Tan Cang Station in Binh Thanh District, the largest of 11 elevated stations dotting the metro line.

"At present, experts working on other areas of the metro line have also registered to re-enter the country. The entry problem of foreign experts working on the project so far has basically been resolved," MAUR said, adding as foreign experts return to Vietnam, progress will be sped up.

Last July, HCMC authorities requested the government to allow nearly 100 foreign experts to enter Vietnam to complete the city’s first metro route.

The line, commencing construction in August 2012, is now 76 percent complete. It has cost VND43.7 trillion ($1.89 billion) and spans 19.7 km from Long Binh in District 9 to Ben Thanh in District 1 with a total 14 stations, 11 elevated and three underground.

The target is to complete 85 percent of the work this year so that it could begin commercial operations by the end of next year.

Ho Chi Minh City plans to build eight metro lines running a total 220 km. It is now focusing on completing the first, which would connect the city center with innovation urban area in the east.

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