Central Vietnam expressway traversed a rough path, remains rough

Created 18 October 2018
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After five years of ups and downs, the $1.4-billion Da Nang – Quang Ngai Expressway has been completed, or not.
Central Vietnam expressway traversed a rough path, remains rough

Central Vietnam expressway traversed a rough path, remains rough

Construction of the expressway that runs 139 kilometers (86 miles) between Da Nang City and Quang Ngai Province started in May 2013. The project was divided into 13 packages with a total investment of VND34.5 trillion ($1.4 billion), raised through loans of VND16.79 trillion from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and VND12.42 trillion from the World Bank, and the rest contributed as counterpart funds by the Vietnamese government.

Central Vietnam expressway traversed a rough path, remains rough - 1

This photo taken in August 2016 shows a house that had to be removed under a site clearance plan for the expressway. The main investor, Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), claimed 1,180 hectares of land for the project, for which 18,550 families and 175 public projects had to be relocated.

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A bulldozer works on the expressway in May 2017.

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An underpass was built in August 2017, as part of the expressway. There are 228 roads cutting the expressway in total.

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The first phase of the project opened to traffic in August 2017, running 65 km from Da Nang to Tam Ky Town in Quang Nam Province. The expressway has a total width of 22 meters with four lanes, allowing vehicles to travel at 120 km per hour.

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Work started in December 2017 on the second phase of the expressway project, running from Tam Ky Town to Quang Ngai Province. The investor promised to get the entire expressway ready for test driving in late June 2018 but kept missing the deadline repeatedly.

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When Transport Minister Nguyen Van The (front) inspected the project in early August this year, he said he was satisfied with neither the quality nor the progress of the project.

“The quality of the asphalt concrete is not consistent at some sections,” he noted.

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Following The’s feedback, the investor peeled off the asphalt concrete surface on four sections of the second phase and did the asphalt work all over again.

“Those four sections were in areas where the investor had conflict with locals over site clearance and thus, the contractors had to rush to finish work on those sections right after they could take the land, which led to the inconsistent quality,” said Tran Van Tam, director of VEC.

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The entire expressway fully opened to traffic just last month, reducing the travel time between Da Nang and Quang Ngai from three hours to a little over an hour.

However, the section that had opened in August 2017, or the first phase of the project, is now undergoing repairs after cracks and potholes measuring hundreds of square centimeters wide and 5-10 centimeters deep were seen early this month in the aftermath of a heavy downpour.

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On the Transport Ministry’s orders, Vietnamese construction firm Tuan Loc began repairing the road on Monday. The ministry has blamed both the project’s main investor VEC and the contractor for the damage. It also demanded that VEC supervises other investors in identifying the damaged sections and fixing them, and said the corporation cannot toll fees on the expressway until it is fully prepared.

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Nguyen Tien Thanh, director of the expressway management board, claimed that the damage was caused by heavy rain and the fact that heavy trucks were using it, and not because of poor construction work.

However, VEC director Tran Van Tam said Monday that the rain was only a contributing factor to the damage. He said repair work would be completed before Wednesday noon.

The transport ministry has decided to suspend the toll collection until the repair work is finished.


Source: VNE

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