Nhổn – Hà Nội Station urban railway line delayed again

August 06, 2022 - 11:45
The operation of the elevated section of the Nhổn – Hà Nội Station urban railway line will not open by the end of this year as planned as many works in the Nhổn depot are behind schedule.
A train ran on a completed section of the Nhổn-Hà Nội Station urban railway line (from Nhổn to Cầu Giấy) in Hà Nội in December 2021. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

HÀ NỘI — The operation of the elevated section of the Nhổn – Hà Nội Station urban railway line will not open by the end of this year as planned as many works in the Nhổn depot are behind schedule.

Hà Nội Metropolitan Railway Project Management Board has submitted to the People’s Committee of Hà Nội to extend the completion time and supplement capital for the project.

The Nhổn-Hà Nội Station urban railway project covers 12.5km, including eight elevated stations and four underground stations.

The elevated section of the urban railway was scheduled to be put into operation by the end of this year. However, the progress of the elevated section has only reached 95.1 per cent, and the progress of the underground section is only 33 per cent.

The project also needs more capital than planned.

The board said that it now needs an additional VNĐ4.9 trillion (US$209.7 million), bringing the total investment capital to VNĐ34.5 trillion ($1.5 billion).

In a letter to the Prime Minister last June, a consortium of donors, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) - the French Development Agency (AFD) and France’s Treasury department, pointed out that the biggest challenge for the elevated section of Nhổn – Cầu Giấy is that the Hà Nội Construction Corporation Joint Stock Company - the contractor in charge of constructing Nhổn Depot - has stopped construction due to contract-related issues over the past two years.

The sponsors fear that the extension of time for the contract will cause financial consequences beyond the current commitment.

Due to the delay, the sponsors proposed the Prime Minister adjust the investment policy to extend the official completion date of the railway project.

The lengthy delay requires the adjustment of increasing the project’s cost, loan modifications and extensions so that it will not interrupt payments to contractors.

Regarding the delay of the construction package of Nhổn Depot, the head of the board said that many reasons were causing the contractor to delay the construction package. The board has worked with the contractor to solve the problems.

In the meantime, the board said that the project’s construction progress had been delayed for multiple reasons.

The delay in site clearance and relocation of technical infrastructure has affected the project’s progress. There are bidding packages five to six years behind schedule in handing over the site.

There are 50 buildings not located in the area of land acquisition but still affected by the project’s construction. The law has no guidance on the compensation process for these households, so it takes time.

Additionally, the impact of the pandemic has caused delays and interruptions in importing equipment and mobilising experts from Europe. This has led to prolonged equipment bidding packages and increasing costs.

The extension of the contract period and additional costs due to the prolonged time has led to disputes with international contractors, making it difficult for Vietnamese management agencies to settle disputes.

There are also problems related to packaging contracts and issues with regulations, standards, unit prices, as well as prices of material and equipment.

Due to these problems, nine out of 10 bidding packages need to sign appendices to extend the implementation time and to seek additional costs due to prolonging the contract.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the delay of the project and the increase of investment capital are due to the project having complex technology, which has been applied for the first time in Việt Nam, and units that are implementing the project still lack experience.

The Nhổn – Hà Nội Station urban railway line will run through the districts of Bắc Từ Liêm, Nam Từ Liêm, Cầu Giấy, Ba Đình, Đống Đa and Hoàn Kiếm.

The trains are expected to operate at 35km per hour on average and 80km per hour maximum, the same speed as metros in Paris, Berlin and various cities throughout Asia.

The project, which kicked off in September 2010, was scheduled to be completed in September 2017 but has had problems with land clearance, so the city People’s Committee extended the project deadline to 2022. — VNS