|Bạch Đằng Bridge in Quảng Ninh Province. VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đức|
HÀ NỘI — The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) proposed a reduction of VND193 billion (US$8.2 million) to the investment cost of Bạch Đằng Bridge, a BOT project in northern Quảng Ninh Province, as well as a cut to the project’s toll collection time, which is currently set at 20 years, to 17 years and eight months.
The office pointed out the project's discrepancies and technical shortcomings. The SAV demanded the project’s management to provide additional documents on a number of construction material costs and contractors.
While the bridge has been deemed safe for travel by the State Council for Assessment for the time being and opened to traffic since September last year, the SAV insisted the project’s management and the provincial authorities work together to address the above mentioned issues in a timely manner.
Despite the fact that the project completion time was allowed to be pushed back three times, there are still several categories that remained unfinished by the time the project went under audit, many still lagging behind the original deadlines, said the office.
The provincial transport department was to share part of the blame for failing in its responsibility to monitor and supervise the implementation of the project.
The Bạch Đằng Bridge project, the first cable-stayed bridge designed and engineered by Việt Nam, started construction in January 2015 with a total investment cost estimated at VND7.2 trillion ($308 million). It was initially set to be completed before July 2018.
The bridge helps shorten travel distance from the capital city Hà Nội to the coastal city of Hạ Long, one of Việt Nam’s top tourist destinations and home to the UNESCO Heritage Site Hạ Long Bay, from 180km to 130km. Travel distance between Hạ Long and the port city of Hải Phòng was also reduced to 25km, instead of 75km as before. — VNS