Vietnam's military relinquishes land for long-delayed Saigon metro line project

By Huu Cong   October 19, 2017 | 04:03 am PT
Vietnam's military relinquishes land for long-delayed Saigon metro line project
Ho Chi Minh City has completed 40 percent of its first metro line. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Just last month, the city asked to delay construction of the metro line to 2020.

Vietnam's defense ministry has handed over 7,300 square meters of military land to Ho Chi Minh City for the construction of what the city hopes to be its second metro line, despite the fact its first line is eight years behind schedule.

The Ben Thanh-Tham Luong line from District 1 and District 12 was initially scheduled to go into operation in 2018.

But in yet another case of public transport delays, HCMC last month had asked the prime minister for permission to push back the construction of the second line to 2020.

Construction of the line was scheduled to start in 2013, but no reasons for the delay have been officially revealed.

The estimated cost of the line has also ballooned from $1.3 billion to more than $2.1 billion, with funding expected to arrive from the Asian Development Bank, German bank KfW, the European Investment Bank and the city’s budget.

The Ben Thanh-Tham Luong line is part of the megacity's plans for a modern public transport network which will have eight lines.

Stuck at the station

The city's first line has been delayed several times since construction started in 2012. The latest completion date has been set for 2020.

The city now owes contractors VND1.34 trillion ($58.9 million) for the first line

Construction of the line started in 2012 and will now cost an estimated $2.49 billion by the time it is completed, which is three times higher than initially planned.

Some contractors have threatened to halt construction or even down tools if payments are not made on time.
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