|Work on the Ha Noi-Thai Nguyen Highway is at full steam. The highway is expected to be completed by the end of this year after 42 months of construction, helping to boost development to northern mountainous provinces. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
HA NOI (VNS)— The 61-km highway from Ha Noi to northern Thai Nguyen Province is scheduled to open by the end of this year but so far only 58 per cent of the work has been done.
The statement was made by Nguyen Ngoc Long, director of the Project Management Board under the Viet Nam Road Administration.
The National Highway No 3 project was kicked off in late 2009 to improve traffic flow and boost traffic network to the mountainous provinces of Thai Nguyen, Cao Bang and Bac Can.
The project will cost VND10 trillion (US$477 million) including VND5.3 trillion ($255 million) for construction, VND2.37 trillion ($113 million) for land clearance and compensation and the remainder is for consultation.
However, in the last three years, delay over land acquisition, compensation and resettlement for people in affected areas slowed the project.
Until late last October, some construction packages were reportedly up to seven months behind schedule. The Transport Ministry decided to replace 21 contractors because they failed to ensure the scheme's progress.
Early this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged the ministry, municipal People's Committees of Ha Noi and Thai Nguyen to speed up land clearance for construction work.
Early last month, when Transport Minister Dinh La Thang inspected the project, the land clearance was 98 per cent completed.
Long said that until late last month, on a 34.4-km stretch of the highway in Thai Nguyen Province, land clearance was 99.3 per cent completed.
"Contractors all commit to finish work on time as soon as they are given access," Long said, noting that the project's speed could change sharply day by day.
Moreover, any contractors who failed to keep up to speed up would be considered for replacement, he said.
Meanwhile, in part of the highway in Ha Noi, land clearance was 98.6 per cent completed as 117 affected households were not satisfied with the compensation rate and refused to move.
"This posed difficulty for contractors to synchronise the use of equipment over the whole route," Long said.
They also assessed when the land was handed over, at least an additional six months were needed to reconsolidate the weak land.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong said there was a lot of work to do on a tight schedule for the project, which would be more problematic during the wet season.
He emphasised that the ministry would take drastic measures to help contractors ensure the project's construction pace. — VNS