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HCMC seeks consultant for underground space
The Saigon Times Daily
Saturday,  Jul 21, 2018,16:57 (GMT+7)

HCMC seeks consultant for underground space

The Saigon Times Daily

A worker is seen in the metro line under construction in HCMC. The HCMC government is accelerating the search for a consulting firm for the city’s urban underground space – PHOTO: THANH HOA

HCMC - The HCMC government is accelerating the search for a consulting firm for the city’s urban underground space, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper quoted HCMC Vice Chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen as saying.

According to the specialized agencies of the city, the underground network of the city has numerous pipelines and cables. Closest to the ground surface is a system of electric wires and telecom cables at a depth of 0.5-1.8 meters. The next layer, two to three meters deep, comprises clean water and drainage pipelines. A deeper layer is for pedestrian tunnels and urban railway lines.

The underground space in HCMC is being used for three groups of basic infrastructure. Group one consists of gas and water pipelines and electricity and telecom cables; group two is meant for urban transport infrastructure, such as metro and parking space; and group three includes commercial-service works, such as shopping complexes.

All three groups can attract high profits if they operate efficiently. However, profitability is currently limited due to the complex, layered management, prompting the need for rearranging the network for better operations. This is proving difficult for the competent authorities as there is no plan in place for the underground space.

Another major challenge in developing the underground space in HCMC, according to urban experts, is the enormous cost. Underground works can be affected by a slew of factors, including geology, climate change and the experience and expertise of those involved.

According to Dr. Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy chief architect of HCMC, data showed that geological changes are occurring fast, even faster than climate change. Nonetheless, evaluations of sea levels and the city’s ground level do not reflect the reality.

As such, the consultant should consider the three factors of geology, climate and connections while planning the underground space, Cuong added.

The plan needs to be clear about geological and air quality changes with accurate data from scientific research and should have connections between the modes of transport. As for the geological issues, Cuong stressed that the city should plan underground works only in those areas that have an overburdened infrastructure above the ground.

According to transport expert Dr. Pham Sanh, the consultant needs to have sufficient data, ideas, goals and capabilities to come up with a convenient plan for the underground space.

He suggested the city government prepare to inspect the current conditions, collect initial data and create related regulations, calling on the Ministry of Construction for support.

He also recommended HCMC first consider underground spaces in small areas with metro stations before expanding, in accordance with the development of the city.

According to the HCMC Department of Urban Planning and Architecture, there is an urgent need for the planning and development of the city’s underground space. The department is speeding up the progress of many stages following the city government’s instruction to complete a detailed report on the planning phase.

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