Main contractor stops work on Hanoi metro underground section

By Vo Hai   September 23, 2021 | 04:34 pm PT
Main contractor stops work on Hanoi metro underground section
Part of the construction site of the Nhon–Hanoi Railway Station metro line's underground section, September 22, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hyundai E&C-Ghella, main contractor for the Nhon - Hanoi Station metro route, has put a 4-km underground section on hold, citing site clearance failures.

The South Korean-Italian joint venture said it will put on hold the underground section of the Nhon–Hanoi Railway Station line as the site needed for it has yet to be cleared, the Hanoi People’s Committee, the executive branch of the administration, said Tuesday in a letter sent to the People’s Council, the municipal legislature.

The line is to run 12.5 kilometers from Nhon in the western district of Nam Tu Liem, via Kim Ma Street to the downtown Hanoi Railway Station. The route comprises 8.5 kilometers on elevated tracks and the remaining four underground with four stations – S9, S10, S11 and S12.

The People’s Committee said the contractor had already submitted a complaint in July, saying it does not have the land to build the S11 station, one of four in the underground section. The city’s compensation policy for affected households is yet to be approved.

City leaders and related parties had since then organized different meetings to remove obstacles and speed up the project.

In early August, Hanoi established an inter-sectoral team to strengthen coordination in handling issues related to the metro line.

This is not the first time that the construction of the underground section has been affected by the delay in handing over a clear site to the contractor.

In April 2019, the contractor had complained about the slow disbursement of funds and delays in handing over construction land. It had requested the investor, the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB), for a compensation of $81 million. The MRB sorted out the issue later.

In another development, the MRB last Thursday announced that the elevated section of the Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station line will not be put into operation later this year as planned earlier due to "objective difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic."

Work on the project began in 2010 with an estimated of $1.2 billion and operations scheduled to start in 2017, but several delays have pushed the cost up to $1.55 billion.

The line is scheduled to be completed next year, but it is not clear what impact the work stoppage on the underground section will have on the project’s timeline.

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