HCM City to have first subway in 2015
Saturday, May 01, 2010 (GMT+7)
Contractors are now being selected for HCM City’s first metro line, a 19.7 kilometer line from the Ben Thanh Market east to Suoi Tien. Construction will start in early 2011, after years of planning.
Two routes first
Le Khac Huynh, chief of the HCM City Urban Railway Management board (URMB), briefed reporters that funds are in hand to build the first two sections of a system that will eventually comprise six lines extending for 167 kilometers. The 19.7 kilometer Line 1 from Ben Thanh Market to Suoi Tien in the eastern suburbs will be funded by Japanese ODA capital. The 19 kilometer Line 2, extending from Thu Thiem New Town across central HCMC to the Tay Ninh bus station west of Tan Son Nhat Airport, will be financed by loans from the German Construction Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Work will begin in early 2010 on the elevated section of the 14 station Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line. Site clearance is already being carried out in HCM City Districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc (HCM City) and in Di An district of Binh Duong province.
Huynh said that at this pace, Line 1 will enter service as Vietnam’s first metro route in early 2015.
HCM City is building several 25 to 30 hectare depots to serve the project. One depot in Long Binh (District 9) is complete. Ground will be broken soon for another depot in Tham Luong (District 12). Construction plans for a 25 hectare depot in Thanh Xuan (also District 12), another in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone (Nha Be) and one in Tan Kien (Binh Chanh) are drafted.
Huynh said the decision to push ahead the construction of the depots represents a decisive commitment to complete all six planned metrorail routes.
The plan for Line 1
According to the URMB, the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien subway will have three underground stations in city centre and 11 elevated stations. Each underground station will be 200 meters long by 60 meters wide.
The first station (Ben Thanh) will be built under 23/9 Park and the current downtown Saigon bus control station. The second (Opera House) will be placed under Le Loi Boulevard in front of the Tax Building Trade Centre, and the third will be located under the Ba Son Shipyard. URMB Chairman Nguyen Do Luong pledged that the construction of these stations and tunnels thirty meters underground will not impede traffic on the surface.
The city is preparing to select its contractor for Line 1.
Planning advances for the rest of the system
Foreign investors are also keen to provide capital for two other routes, Line 3a from the Ben Thanh market to Tan Kien (Binh Chanh district) and Line 3b from Ben Thanh to Hiep Binh Phuoc in Thu Duc district. Austria’s Ostu Stettin and Italy’s CMC Revena want to invest in both routes.
Other investors propose to build the Ben Thanh-Tan Kien subway using the BOT (build-operate-transfer) model.
HCM City has chosen Russia’s Jorbrus group to build Line 4, connecting Ben Cat and Nguyen Van Linh Street.
Line 5, projected to wrap around the center city from Can Giuoc to the Saigon River bridge, is now the subject of a feasibility study using a grant from Spain. Vietnam and Spain have signed a memorandum of understanding that Spain will contribute 550 million Euros to build this route.
A feasibility study of the sixth route, Ba Queo-Phu Lam, is also underway, and also funded by a Spanish grant. The report will be submitted to HCM City authorities this June.