|A level crossing on Phung Hung Street, Ha Noi that was built out of wooden panels by local residents. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Son
HA NOI (VNS) — The Viet Nam Railway Corporation (VRC) has sought more than VND560 billion (US$26.6 million) for renovating and fixing 291 level crossings across the country during a two-year period till 2016.
VRC had recently requested the Government to allocate this budget, which would be used to implement a transportation project approved by the Prime Minister last year and to repair old level crossings that violate newly issued safety rules. These violations might include traffic view blockage or a lack of warning signals.
The funds would be used by the VRC to fix 180 level crossings this year, and cost more than VND322 billion ($15.3 million). Work on the remaining crossings would conclude in 2016 for an estimated budget of VND227 billion ($11.3 million).
The funds requested by the VRC for this year's plan already include the VND150 billion ($7.1 million) budget approved by the PM in 2014 for work on the 180 crossings, indicating that an extra of VND182.2 billion ($8.6 million) has been asked for.
The approved budget would have only helped fix up to 58 out of 180 crossings, achieving only 32 per cent of the plan's targeted number, reported the VRC.
"The corporation wanted to ask the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport for another VND182.2 billion ($8.6 million) to work on the level crossings on crowded train routes that face higher safety risks, such as the Ha Noi–HCM City and the Ha Noi–Lao Cai routes," said VRC Member Committee Chairman Tran Ngoc Thanh.
The project to renovate the level crossings is part of a bigger effort by the government to secure the railway's safety. —VNS