|Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể answers questions from NA deputies on Thursday morning at the third session of the 15-tenure National Assembly. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn|
HÀ NỘI — The implementation of the eastern section of the North-South Expressway project is basically on schedule and four sub-projects will be finished this year.
Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể spoke to National Assembly deputies on Thursday morning at the third session of the 15-tenure National Assembly, where he was asked about the current progress of the project while the building material prices are on the rise and there is a lack of backfill materials.
The four sub-projects are planned to be completed this year, consisting of Mai Sơn-National Highway 45; Cam Lộ-La Sơn; Vĩnh Hảo-Phan Thiết and Phan Thiết-Dầu Giây.
The average progress of the four sub-projects now has reached 58 per cent of the workload, he said.
Thể said the Vĩnh Hảo-Phan Thiết sub-project has achieved 40 per cent of the workload. It is set to reach 50.8 per cent of the workload by June 30 while the Phan Thiết-Dầu Giây sub-project has so far reached 45 per cent of the workload.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has ordered the ministry to finish the four sub-projects three months ahead of schedule, he said.
The ministry is closely monitoring the progress of the sub-projects to ensure they meet the schedule, he added.
Currently, the ministry has operated a total of 10 sub-projects to construct the expressway’s eastern section under the first phase, he said.
He also said that Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành directly meets with the ministry every month to review the progress of the sub-projects and deputy ministers of Transport go to the construction sites of the sub-projects to check and remove difficulties every week.
The ministry is striving to complete 361km of the four sub-projects as scheduled, he said.
Besides, the ministry will coordinate with localities to have early notifications of building material prices in order to reduce the price difference for contractors, he said.
The eastern section of the North-South Expressway project is 654km long and divided into 11 sub-projects. Of these, eight sub-projects are in the form of public investment and three sub-projects are in the form of public-private partnership.
The expressway runs through the 13 provinces of Nam Định, Ninh Bình, Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận, Đồng Nai, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long.
The project has a total investment of about VNĐ100 trillion (US$4.29 billion). There is one sub-project, named Cao Bồ-Mai Sơn, connecting Nam Định Province to Ninh Bình Province, which was put into operation early this year.
Also at the session, NA Deputy Mai Văn Hải asked that in the period of 2021-25, over 2,000km of expressways are expected to be constructed. It is thought to cause pressure on capital, land clearance and building materials. Therefore, Hải asked about what solutions the ministry can provide to solve these difficulties and fulfil the target in the coming time.
Thể said about 1,200km of expressways have been finished and 800km are being built.
He also acknowledged that there is quite a lot of pressure, but the lack of capital isn't a problem.
According to the Law on Public Investment, a project is only approved when there is enough capital, he said.
He said that land clearance is also a challenge as the expressways pass through many localities.
However, the ministry already ordered localities to make efforts to carry out land clearance work to meet the deadline, he said.
He added that the ministry has coordinated with relevant agencies to remove difficulties to ensure the supply of building materials for expressway projects.
“Although there are difficulties, the ministry will fulfil the target as scheduled,” he said.
Non-stop toll collection booths
NA Deputy Đặng Hồng Sỹ said that the installation of non-stop toll collection booths began in 2015. However, some stations have yet to complete installation by June 30, 2022. Sỹ asked about the main cause of the situation.
Thể said non-stop toll collection is a new technology, which is applied to facilitate people's travel and helps people to pay taxes and fees in an open and transparent way.
The ministry has been applying the technology since 2015. However, in the implementation process, there were many obstacles, including people's habits, mechanism' difficulties and technical failure in operation, he said.
He said under the direction of Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, by June 30, all toll stations must complete the installation of non-stop toll collection.
"The Government is very determined,” he said.
If the toll stations fail to finish their installation, the ministry will order them to stop collecting toll. They only will be allowed to collect the toll when they finish their installation, he said. — VNS