Head of the management board Le Nguyen Minh Quang said that the rail track installation is a step to move into the significant new stage of the project.
According to the plan, contractors will complete the work by the end of 2018 before moving to the next stage of installing electromechanical system, locomotives and coaches. The project will start pilot operation in 2019 and come into operation in the following year.
At present, the bid package of building 17.1 kilometer above ground stretch with 11 stations has completed 72 percent of work volume. Bid package 1b from Saigon Opera House station to Ba Son station comprising two underground stations and 781 underground rails has done 53 percent of work volume.
Bid package 1a comprising Ben Thanh depot and an underground stretch from the depot to Saigon Opera House station has completed 18 percent.
Technical design has been done for 10 out of 11 manufacturing items of the third bid package including purchase and installation of electromechanical system, locomotives, coaches and rail tracks and maintenance.
At the ceremony, Mr. Akito Takashahi, deputy head of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Vietnam was glad to see the good construction implementation of above ground and underground items of the first metro route.
Still, JICA expressed concern about slow capital allocation which has affected the project’s progress.
Mr. Takashahi said that the project is progressing well and JICA is willing to disburse official development assistance (ODA) source which the Japanese Government has committed to providing for the project. Nevertheless payment for contractors has stopped for the last several months as the central government’s capital allocation has failed to meet the project’s demand.
Meantime, the HCMC People’s Committee has temporarily advanced on its budget to pay contractors.
JICA proposed the Vietnamese Government to consider the special circumstance of the project and have proficient solutions to supplement funds as soon as possible.
Deputy chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen stressed that Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line is one of major works which have been built from Japanese ODA source and HCMC’s reciprocal capital.
The project plays an especially significant role to connect traffic between HCMC and neighboring provinces to solve residents’ travel demand; create motive power for urban, commercial and service development in the main directions of the city and contribute in the city’s socioeconomic development in the phase of 2020-2025.
Mr. Tuyen proposed the Management Board of Urban Railways to work closely with consultant firms and contractors to speed up construction progress and ensure quality in order to put the work into operation in 2020 as per schedule.