|Construction of the Bến Thành Central Station on HCM City’s Metro Line No. 1 in District 1 was allowed to resume amid social distancing. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — Construction of 22 major traffic projects in HCM City will resume work after being suspended for months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lương Minh Phúc, director of the city's Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment, said the projects would restart from October 1 and are required to meet pandemic prevention and control safety requirements.
Many projects need to be completed before the end of the year, such as infrastructure in the Nước Đen canal area in Bình Tân District, the new Hang Ngoài Bridge in Gò Vấp District, the Thanh Đa Park in Bình Thạnh District, and the upgrade of Trần Văn Mười Street in Hóc Môn District.
The repair and upgrade of Đặng Thúc Vịnh Street in Hóc Môn District, costing VNĐ700 billion (US$30.9 million), and the first branch of the new Bưng Bridge between Tân Phú and Bình Tân districts with investment cost of VNĐ514 billion ($22.7 million), are scheduled to be put into operation before Tết (Lunar New Year) which will fall next year on February 1.
A number of other construction works will be restarted to prevent damage caused by erosion along rivers and canals.
The city administration has drawn up a set of criteria for classifying construction works.
It classifies construction works into two categories: in "new normal" areas with low risk of COVID-19 infection and areas with high or very high risk of infection.
The former will be licensed to resume, while projects in high-risk and very high risk areas cannot resume except for those considered urgent and serving pandemic control needs.
Everyone working at construction sites must have a certificate saying they have received two shots of COVID vaccines or have fully recovered after contracting the disease.
Contractors and investors must have plans in place for pandemic prevention, and take responsibility if the disease spreads at their site.
Earlier, the city permitted three urgent and key projects to continue construction during the pandemic to ensure completion.
They include an overpass in front of the new Miền Đông (Eastern) Bus Station on Hà Nội Highway in Thủ Đức City, technical infrastructure on nine land plots in the Thủ Thiêm new urban area in Thủ Đức City, and a double tunnel below Nguyễn Văn Linh Boulevard at its intersection with Nguyễn Hữu Thọ Street in District 7.
The city also allowed resumption of construction on Metro Line No 1; Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge; a cardiology centre, neonatology centre and a building for health examinations and surgery at HCM City Paediatrics Hospital 1; upgrade of Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport; and construction works serving pandemic prevention and control.
Districts 7, Củ Chi and Cần Giờ, considered low risk areas, have been allowed to trial resumption of construction works on September 16.
Two new ferries proposed
The Volunteer Youth Public Benefit Service Co., Ltd, which manages the Cát Lái and Bình Khánh ferry terminals in HCM City, has proposed building two new 200-tonne ferry boats at an estimated cost of more than VNĐ79 billion ($3.5 million) to replace old ones.
It asked the city’s People’s Committee to use funding from the city budget to build the two new ferry boats within 10 months.
The new ferry boats would replace a one 100-tonne ferry boat at Bình Khánh ferry terminal, a 100-tonne ferry boat and a 60-tonne ferry boat at Cát Lái ferry terminal.
A 200-tonne, old ferry boat at the closed Vàm Cống ferry terminal was moved to the city last year, although it was not used. The Vàm Cống ferry terminal stopped operation in 2019 after a new bridge was built across the Hậu River linking An Giang and Đồng Tháp provinces.
Two other 60-tonne ferry boats at Cát Lái ferry terminal will expire in 2023 and 2024.
The company has asked the city’s Department of Transport to liquidate the expired ferry boats and the Department of Finance to provide specific guidance for liquidation procedures.
The company manages and operates 20 ferry boats at Cát Lái và Bình Khánh ferry terminals, including four 200-tonne ferry boats, nine 100-tonne ferry boats, and seven 60-tonne ferry boats.
Three of the ferries have expired beyond their usage date, making it difficult for the remaining ferry boats to meet passenger demand.
The Cát Lái ferry terminal connecting Thủ Đức City with Đồng Nai Province’s Nhơn Trạch District carries an average of 50,000 passengers a day and up to 75,000-90,000 passengers each day during holidays. — VNS