Project is undergoing safety checks before being put into operation
Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project, the first of its kind in Hanoi, has been completed and the project is undergoing safety checks before being put into operation.
On December 20, a representative of the Railway Project Management Unit under the Ministry of Transport said the safety check process would last 20 days. The system’s safety will be evaluated by Apave-Certifier-Tricc, a French consulting firm, news site Vietnamplus reported.
After completing safety checks, the project will be handed over to Hanoi Metro Co., Ltd for operation.
Responding to Hanoi residents’ questions about the project, the Ministry of Transport has admitted that the project has lagged behind schedule and faced cost overruns.
According to the ministry, the project’s initial design was poor and was later adjusted. In addition, a longer-than-expected period was needed for approvals of loan contracts.
Further, the Export-Import Bank of China, the provider of loans for the project, had no representative office in Vietnam, affecting the project funding process.
Meanwhile, China Railway 6 Bureau Group, the contractor of the project, failed to get the project done on schedule due to its lack of previous experience.
In addition, the methods of executing urban railway projects varies in different countries. Therefore, a Chinese contractor might find it difficult to develop the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project.
Additionally, the disbursement of loans faced obstacles as the parties could not reach agreement. An agreement to borrow additional capital for the project was signed in May 2017, but disagreements about 13 conditions for obtaining capital slowed disbursements until April 2018.
The Ministry of Transport also noted that the site clearance in Hanoi was slow.
Officials also said that Vietnam’s prevailing regulations on the execution of engineering, procurement and construction contracts were not tight enough.
Moreover, escalating prices in the 2008-2011 period contributed to rising costs of labour and building materials.
The ministry accepted its responsibility as the investor of the project.
The 13.5-kilometer Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway system runs from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to the Yen Nghia Station southwest of Ha Dong District, with 12 elevated stations.
It travels at a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour, with an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour.
The project’s cost was revised up from VND8.7 trillion to a whopping VND18 trillion. The system was originally planned to be put into operation in 2016.