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Transport ministry asked to explain North-South Expressway delay

Update: February, 21/2020 - 09:00

 

The North-South Expressway, which is set to cover 2,109km and extend from the northern mountainous province of Lạng Sơn to the southernmost province of Cà Mau, is a key national transport project for the 2017-20 period. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministry of Transport to explain reports of delays to the construction of the North-South Expressway.

Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper on February 11 reported that the land clearance progress of the expressway’s eastern section had been delayed.

The transport ministry has warned that the whole project would be delayed if land clearance continued to lag behind schedule.

According to the Transport Project Quality and Construction Management Department, only 166 out of 653.6km of roads in 13 localities which the expressway’s eastern section runs through have been transferred to investors and the project’s management board.

Agricultural land was expected to be fully transferred before the end of 2019. Localities must complete land clearance by the second quarter this year.

If local authorities do not accelerate progress, land clearance will not be completed by the middle of this year, according to the department.

The newspaper also reported that the deadline for submitting the expressway’s design looks set to be missed.

The transport ministry has so far approved technical designs for 64 out of 401km, while the deadline to approve them all is February 20.

The ministry blamed the delay on the time need to collect feedback from many localities.

The PM asked the transport ministry to clarify the delay.

The North-South Expressway, which is set to cover 2,109km and extend from the northern mountainous province of Lạng Sơn to the southernmost province of Cà Mau, is a key national transport project for the 2017-20 period.

It is expected to improve national competitiveness and attract foreign investment, as well as create more momentum for socio-economic development.

The expressway’s eastern section has 11 sub-projects, with three financed by the State and the rest using funding from the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

They have a total investment of VNĐ118.71 trillion (US$5.1 billion).

The construction of the first sub-project (Cam Lộ-La Sơn) started last September. It runs through the central provinces of Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế for nearly 100km and is worth some VNĐ7.6 trillion.

The section is expected to be completed by next year.

The transport ministry last year cancelled open international bidding for eight projects of the expressway in favour of homegrown investors.

The pre-qualification round of investor selection for eight PPP North-South Expressway projects will finish this month, according to the transport ministry. Bidding documents will be issued in April.

The bidding to select investors will be completed by November. — VNS