Despite some setbacks, work has been proceeding apace on National Road 14, Phan Quang Hien, Deputy Director of the Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau, tells the Vietnam News Agency.
People have complained that the construction delay of National Road 14 seriously affected their daily life and transport safety. How do you respond to that?
The upgrading and expansion of the National Road 14 portion between Kon Tum (in the Central Highlands) and Binh Phuoc Province is broken down into 10 projects, of which five are BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects and the other five are government bond projects. According to contracts, the last tender package must be finished before December 2015. However, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has instructed all Project Management Units that they have to complete their projects by October. At the most recent meeting with PMU directors, MOT Deputy Minister Nguyen Hong Truong asked them to do their best to complete their projects by May.
Generally speaking, all 10 projects are 35 per cent complete. National Road 14 has a basically complete drainage system and road bed. The Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau (TCQM) has advised the MOT to ask those supervising the projects to ensure transport safety and procure sufficient materials for the massive amount of construction that will take place in the upcoming dry season.
Most PMUs have committed to completing their work before Tet – five months before the MOT deadline. The work of transport safety and procurement of construction materials has been done well in terms of both quantity and quality.
However, two BOT contractors (Duc Long - Gia Lai Group and Toan My-Bang Duong Joint Venture Contractor) failed to respond to the MOT's demand. As a result, on rainy days, pot holes on the road surface became water pockets, creating difficulties for drivers.
What makes you confident that National Road 14 will be complete by June?
I think that everything is in our control, except the weather.
So far, there have been no problems with funding. However, National Road 14 is rather narrow. In 2013, traffic congestion was a problem in some areas. But in 2014, no such problem was reported.
As for weather, the dry season in central Viet Nam lasts from November to Tet in mid-February. It will be peak time for all contractors to speed up their work, as the weather will be on their side. That's why I'm confident the project will be finished on schedule.
What will the TCQM do to ensure the project is high quality?
The TCQM has dispatched staff to construction sites to monitor the work done by contractors all along the road to ensure that they comply with instructions.
With close instruction from the MOT and tight control of inspectors, I'm totally confident the road will be high quality. Two things I'm worried about are dust and construction work signs. During the dry season, the volume of dust will increase. If the workers don't spray water on the road often, it will become a big problem for road users. Moreover, improper work signs may lead to traffic accidents. However, I'm confident that good preparations will reduce the likelihood of accidents. — VNS