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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

HCMC proposes building 500 km of urban rail lines

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The HCMC Department of Transport has proposed building more than 500 km of urban rail lines at a total cost of nearly US$50 billion.

The proposal was presented during a meeting today to discuss development plans for the HCMC Urban Railway Development Project, following Conclusion No. 49 of the Politburo. The department aims to extend the currently planned network of 220 km to 511 km by 2025, with 10 routes and 384 stations.

According to the proposal, the 19.7-km Metro Line No. 1 (or Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line), which nears completion, will connect to Line 3a upon extension to An Ha depot in Binh Chanh District, bordering Long An Province.

This extension will create a continuous east-west railway axis. Once completed, Metro Line No. 1 will be 40.8 km long, with 14 stations and two depots. Together with Metro Line No. 2, the total network will reach 65.82 km.

Three investment options have been presented. The first option involves investing in the entire urban railway system, totaling 511 km with 384 stations, at an estimated cost of nearly US$50 billion.

The second option focuses on constructing six lines from Line No. 1 to Line No. 6, with a total length of 303 km and an investment of around US$25 billion.

The third option prioritizes completing Lines 1, 3, and 4, with partial construction or upgrades planned for Lines 2, 5, and 6. This phased approach would cover approximately 180 km and require US$20 billion.

Representatives from the HCMC Department of Planning and Architecture considered the third option feasible, aligning with the current Urban Rail Development Plan 568, while the plan to complete over 500 km of metro by 2060 is seen as better aligned with long-term goals.

Speaking at the meeting, the director of the HCMC Transport Department, Tran Quang Lam, said this is a challenging project with no precedent in the country.

The Ministry of Transport will meet with the HCMC and Hanoi governments on April 12 to finalize the project implementation plan, with an aim to complete the draft project by April 18 and submit it to Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha in May.

Conclusion No. 49 of the Politburo requires HCMC to build the remaining 200 km of metro railway in 12 years, including four to five years for planning and seven to eight years for construction.

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