Thursday, June 29 2017

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Defying critics, Đà Nẵng plans to build tunnel

Update: March, 13/2017 - 17:00
The 1.3km-long, six-lane tunnel – 900m of which will be under the river – will be the first traffic route under the Hàn River. It will also be the second river tunnel in Việt Nam after HCM City’s Thủ Thiêm Tunnel. — VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

ĐÀ NẴNG — Đà Nẵng has added the mega project of an underwater tunnel crossing the symbolic Hàn River to the city’s master plan, despite public criticism of its cost and necessity.

Đà Nẵng People’s Committee Chairman Huỳnh Đức Thơ told the press on Saturday evening that the city’s master plan for 2030 with a vision towards 2050 had yet to include a tunnel underneath the Hàn River.

“Đà Nẵng will work with the central government to recalculate and find the most optimal project plan, which will be resubmitted to the Prime Minister,” Thơ said.

The city’s decision came a day after Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, according to the Government Office, asked the central city to carefully re-examine the need for commissioning the VNĐ4.7 trillion (US$208 million) mega project.

The PM directed Đà Nẵng to include the project in the city’s master plan if the investment was still considered necessary and to report the change to him.

The Government Office’s statement stressed that any investment procedures related to the project could only be carried out after the PM approves the new master plan.

Thơ believed that the PM did not mean to “suspend” the project but only required Đà Nẵng to collaborate with the central government in selecting the most reasonable project plan and to add it to the city’s master plan.

Regarding the investment fund, Thơ said the city would receive enough money from its budget and land lease revenue to build the underwater tunnel.

The 1.3km-long, six-lane tunnel – 900m of which will be under the river – will be the first traffic route under the Hàn River. It will also be the second river tunnel in Việt Nam after HCM City’s Thủ Thiêm Tunnel.

In 2015, the Bridge & Tunnel Consultants (BRITEC) company, assigned to develop some key tunnels in Việt Nam by the transport ministry, proposed building a tunnel in Đà Nẵng, beginning at the Đống Đa-Trần Phú junction in Hải Châu District and ending on Vân Đồn Street in Sơn Trà District.

Experts were less enthusiastic, voicing anxiety over BRITEC’s plan at a seminar and suggesting that the city should look carefully at the project’s funding, maintenance and construction costs. They said the tunnel would not be an ideal solution to the city’s traffic problems either now or in the future. Besides, building a bridge is cheaper and easier, they argued.

Currently, Đà Nẵng has six major bridges to ease traffic flow within and outside the city: Thuận Phước, the Hàn Swing Bridge, Rồng (Dragon) and Trần Thị Lý, as well as Tuyên Sơn and Nguyễn Tri Phương, in addition to Nguyễn Văn Trỗi Bridge, built in the 1960s.

The city has started construction of a tunnel at the junction of Lê Duẩn and Trần Phú and plans to build another one at the busiest roundabouts: Điện Biên Phủ, Nguyễn Tri Phương and Lê Độ.

Đà Nẵng has been investing a lot in urban development as it targets becoming a green city by 2025.

In 2013, the World Bank agreed to provide $202 million for a $272-million sustainable development project to help improve the city’s Bus Rapid Transit network, build new roads and revamp the existing drainage system. — VNS

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