Sunday,  Nov 18, 2018,20:07 (GMT+7) 0 0
Ministry scraps BOT investment plan for Rach Mieu 2 Bridge
By Trung Chanh
Monday,  Aug 13, 2018,12:16 (GMT+7)

Ministry scraps BOT investment plan for Rach Mieu 2 Bridge

By Trung Chanh

A view of the current Rach Mieu bridge which links Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces - PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH

CAN THO - The Ministry of Transport is considering using either the State budget or official development assistance (ODA) loans to build the Rach Mieu 2 bridge, instead of calling for build-operate-transfer (BOT) investment as previously proposed.

At a working session between the Ministry of Transport and the government of Ben Tre Province on August 11, Minister Nguyen Van The noted that as Rach Mieu Bridge, which links the Mekong Delta provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre, is now overloaded, the building of Rach Mieu 2 Bridge is essential.

According to The, compared to the Dai Ngai bridge project, which will connect Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces in the Mekong Delta region and has already been properly researched, the Rach Mieu 2 bridge project is making slow progress, with no formal studies in place to report to the government and the National Assembly or to invite bidders.

The minister asked the Planning and Investment Department and Project Management Unit 7 to work hard on studying the project and consulting ministry leaders to launch it ahead of time.

“Project Management Unit 7 needs to focus on working with consulting units and the governments of Tien Giang and Ben Tre to find suitable investment models,” The said, adding that plans being proposed must highlight the advantages and disadvantages so that they can be compared before a suitable selection is made.

Regarding financial plans, according to The, with a VND2-trillion BOT project on National Highway 1, capital recovery may take up to 20 years and investments may amount to VND6-7 trillion due to additional costs.

Meanwhile, on National Highway 60, where Rach Mieu 2 Bridge will go up, a road expansion project, worth over VND1.6 trillion, is in progress in addition to the Co Chien Bridge project, both being constructed under the BOT model. If Rach Mieu 2 Bridge is built with BOT capital and toll collected, The questioned whether the area would then have three tollgates to support it.

He added that if Rach Mieu 2 Bridge receives BOT investments, this might lead to overlapping fees.

As such, the plan must be given more consideration before it is presented to the Prime Minister. “I think that an investment plan involving drawing from the budget and ODA capital should be chosen,” The said.

After hearing the viewpoint of the transport minister, Vo Thanh Hao, secretary of the Ben Tre Party Committee, proposed dropping the plan to use BOT capital.

Based on the prefeasibility study of the Rach Mieu 2 bridge project prepared by Dasan Consultants, Project Management Unit 7 had earlier reported to the ministry that it had selected four potential locations for the bridge.

Under the chosen plan, the new bridge will be 3.8 kilometers upstream of the existing bridge and will have four lanes. No bypass will be needed.

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