Work on Saigon's 2nd metro line to begin next year

By Huu Cong    March 14, 2021 | 04:13 am PT
Work on Saigon's 2nd metro line to begin next year
The Bay Hien Intersection, where HCMC's second metro line will start, is seen from above, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Work on HCMC’s second metro line is expected to start in mid-2022, with land clearance for the project set to be completed this year.

450 of 603 affected families in six districts have handed over their land for the Ben Thanh-Tham Luong metro route, accounting for over 74 percent of the plan, the city's vice chairman, Le Hoa Binh, said in a report sent to the Ministry of Investment and Planning about the progress of the project.

From August, the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), which will oversee construction of the route, will start relocating technical infrastructure.

The investor is completing procedures to invite tenders for the project.

Khoa said the project is still grappling with some problems, including reappraisal of loan conditions, extending a loan agreement with German state-owned development bank KfW that expired December 30 and signing an appendix of Independent Consultant (IC) Agreement contract because the consultant stopped participating in the project in 2018.

Originally, the project originally had a consortium of three German companies, one Swiss company and a Vietnamese company as the independent consultant, providing engineering, design and supervision consultancy services.

Their services commenced 31 January, 2012, but stopped in October 2018 after disputes broke out over fees for service packages not originally included in the first IC Agreement.

Therefore, the city government has proposed that the transport ministry supports the removal of difficulties so that the project can be completed on schedule.

The Ben Thanh – Tham Luong Metro Line will run 11 kilometers between Districts 1 and 12, 9.2 km of it underground, and have 10 stations.

Its cost has ballooned to VND47.9 trillion ($2 billion) from the original estimate of VND26 trillion.

Three international development banks, ADB, KfW and EIB, are funding the project with nearly VND37 trillion ($1.6 billion), and Vietnam will raise remaining sum as counterpart funds.

The route is one of eight metro lines planned in the city with a combined length of 220 kilometers and a price tag of nearly $25 billion.

Disagreements over compensation have repeatedly delayed land acquisition, causing the entire project to be rescheduled several times.

Its first phase is scheduled to finish in 2026, when it will carry 140,000 passengers a day.

The country’s biggest city, with a population of 13 million, has been struggling with traffic congestion for years.

The number of personal vehicles has exploded, with 825,000 automobiles and 8.12 million motorbikes on the roads now, while public transport is woefully underdeveloped.

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