Saigon metro lines cost escalation cleared, construction not to stop

By Huu Nguyen   October 24, 2019 | 10:27 pm PT
Saigon metro lines cost escalation cleared, construction not to stop
A metro section hovers above a highway in Saigon's District 9, August 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has approved HCMC's demand to revise the cost of its first two metro lines.

The city People’s Committee had sought a revision of the costs from VND17.4 trillion ($749 million) to VND47 trillion ($2.02 billion) for the first line and from VND26 trillion ($1.12 billion) to nearly VND48 trillion ($2.07 billion) for the second.

The ministry said it was satisfied the city could arrange foreign funding for them, but added it needs to ensure it has enough counterpart funds to sustain construction progress.

Documents for the cost revisions would be drawn up and submitted to the People’s Committee, the People’s Council and other authorities, a spokesperson for the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month city Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong had warned that construction would grind to a halt if the cost revision was not approved soon.

Metro Line No 1, from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien, will run nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) through the city’s Districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc and the neighboring Binh Duong Province's Di An District. It is 67 percent complete and expected to begin commercial operation in April 2021.

The second line from Ben Thanh to Tham Luong has been rescheduled from 2024 to 2026 because of long administrative delays, and only an administrative building has been built so far.

When completed, the line will run 11.3 kilometers (7 miles) through Districts 1, 3 10, 12, Tan Binh, and Tan Phu, mostly below ground.

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