Viet Nam News
Phan Trường Thành is one of the drafters of the "Master plan on Investment in Hà Nội’s Transportation Infrastructure in 2017-2021, with a vision to 2030". He speaks to the Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper about the importance of building new bridges across the Red River.
What are the roles of the future six bridges across the Red River to Hà Nội’s transport?
At present, Hà Nội is in the initial stage of its comprehensive investment programme in infrastructure construction of its transport framework.
According to plan, from now till 2030, the city will focus on the construction of another six bridges across the Red River and Đuống River. These bridges will connect the city’s ring bell axis with roads leading to the municipal city’s centre or leading to other regions. In my opinion, the construction of these six bridges - the Vĩnh Tuy Bridge (the second phase), the Thượng Cát, Tứ Liên, Giang Biên, Đuống No 2 and Trần Hưng Đạo, will have a great significance toward Hà Nội’s transport.
For example when the Cát Thượng Bridge is completed, it will play a very important role in the Ring Road 3.5. It will reduce the load bearing capacity for the present Ring Road 3.
In addition, these six bridges will serve as leverage for the socio-economic development and rapid urbanisation of the north of the Red River and east of the Ring Road No 4.
It is no doubt that the good transport flow will help speed up the city’s socio-economic development. So are the people’s living conditions and others.
What are advantages and disadvantages in the building of the six bridges?
I should say the construction of these bridges have more advantages than disadvantages. The biggest advantage is we can minimise to the lowest level of land compensation which incurred during the construction of these bridges. In addition, the construction of these bridges will have fewer impacts on people living on the two sides of the bridges. For example, we don’t have to do the resettlement of people during the construction of the Vĩnh Tuy Bridge in the second phase. In addition, the two feeding roads to that bridge are already available since the construction of the first Vĩnh Tuy Bridge.
However, if the Hà Nội authorities want to speed up the construction of these bridges, they have to work out suitable mechanisms, policies and the funding for these projects.
At present, the mid-term public investment in the period 2016-2020 in Hà Nội only meets about 20 per cent of the total project budget requirement of VNĐ135 trillion. As a result, the city authorities have to mobilise the other 80 per cent of the budget requirement from the society.
With a normal transport infrastructure project, the bidding must go through between 3-4 rounds, including the steps of consultation; design and projection and construction. That means it would take between 500-700 days for completing the administrative procedures.
In addition, each bridge has its own requirements. For example, the Trần Hưng Đạo, one side of the bridge is adjacent to the flying funnel of the Gia Lâm airport. That’s why it is very important to ensure absolute security and safety for the airport operation. Meanwhile, for the Tứ Liên, Thượng Cát and other bridges, the construction must ensure safety for the flood diversion corridors and dyke safety procedures.
Does Hà Nội have any plans to overcome the above-mention challenges?
Traffic congestion has become an acute problem to be resolved, that’s why the Hà Nội authorities have written their proposal to submit to the Prime Minister. Luckily, our proposal has been approved by the PM. He has granted us a special mechanism and allowed us to select investors in some important projects. All the six bridges are among the list of projects to ask the PM’s permission to appoint constructors. Until now, some constructors have expressed their interest in doing the projects in either the forms of Built and Transfer (BT) or Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT).
By now the Hà Nội authorities have already arranged vacant land areas to exchange for land use in the six bridges and other required legal procedures before submitting to other ministries for their comments/suggestions and for the PM’s approval.
Will you please explain a little further about the city’s proposal to appoint contractors?
Chairman of Hà Nội’s People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung has laid out some basic principles requiring any investors wanting to invest in the building of the six bridges. They must have capacity and experiences in the areas they are interested in. They must have good financial capacity and are committed to honouring their financial commitment. In addition, the investor has to deposit a sum, if they fail to honour their commitment they will loose the money. In addition, the investor also has to bear the cost for writing their feasibility study and the project financial proposal.
If any of the six projects is applied in the Public-Private-Partnership format the Hà Nội authorities will grant preferential loans to that project.
To ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency in the investment management of the projects, the Hà Nội authorities will create a management board for each project.
It is projected that from now till 2030, Hà Nội’s transport framework will be completed. For the six bridges, if the PM gives a nod to our request for a special mechanism given to these projects, we promise to have all the six bridges be completed by the year 2021 with high quality. — VNS