|Construction takes place on the Ca Pass Tunnel in the central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. The project is currently one year behind schedule due to slow land clearance.—VNA/VNS Photo The Lap
HA NOI (VNS)— Transport Minister Dinh La Thang has urged relevant authorities to speed up the construction of the Ca Pass Tunnel in the central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.
The project aims to replace Ca Mountain Pass and Co Ma Mountain Pass, parts of National Highway 1A that run through Dai Lanh Mountain and have dangerous bends prone to avalanches and landslides, with two tunnels.
Originally scheduled for completion in 2016, along with other parts of National Highway 1 that are also being repaired, the VND15.6 trillion (US$742.8 million) project is currently one year behind.
The construction was supposed to be carried out under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Transfer (BT) models. Deo Ca Investment Join Stocks Company was to mobilise capital to finance the project and see a return on its investment later, while the two provinces' authorities and transport ministries were in charge of providing surface for the construction.
But the investor failed to do the necessary preliminary work, said Tran Xuan Sanh, head of the ministry's Department for Management of Traffic Work Construction and Quality.
"The investor has not yet finished assessments and strategies for the construction process," he said.
The ministry is also concerned about the investor's financial capacity as its shareholders have committed barely VND1.078 trillion ($51.3 million).
Dinh Van Chuong, head of the Project Management Department of Deo Ca Investment Joint Stocks Company, blamed the delay on slow land clearance. He told Nguoi Lao dong (The Labourer) newspaper that the investor had nearly completed the resettlement area for households in Phu Yen Province who had to make way for the construction.
"The province committed to handing over space for the construction next month, but that is the rainy season, so we have to postpone it until next February," he said.
However, Nguyen Tai, chairman of Dong Hoa District People's Committee in Phu Yen Province, said that land clearance went as scheduled. He claimed the real reason for the delay was the investor's initial design, which was problematic because the road would have run through a high voltage electrical pole.
Slow disbursement of compensation also delayed nine affected households from moving, Tai said. While compensation amounts were determined last year, the investors did not pay until this year. Other affected households complained about unfinished power and water infrastructure in resettlement areas.
Minister Thang asked local authorities and the investor to co-operate with other experienced project management units to review both project design and staffing. — VNS