Da Nang has added the mega project of an underwater tunnel crossing the symbolic Han River to the city’s master plan, despite public criticism of the project being costly and unnecessary.
|The 1.3km-long, six-lane tunnel – 900m of which will be under the river – will be the first traffic route under the Han River. It will also be the second river tunnel in Viet Nam after HCM City’s Thu Thiem Tunnel.-photo: tuoitre.vn |
Da Nang People’s Committee Chairman Huynh Duc Tho told the press on Saturday evening that the city’s master plan for 2030 with a vision towards 2050 had yet to include a tunnel underneath the Han River.
“Da Nang will work with the central government to recalculate and find the most optimal project plan, which will be resubmitted to the Prime Minister,” Tho said.
The city’s decision came a day after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, according to the Government Office, asked the central city to carefully reexamine the need for commissioning the VND4.7 trillion (US$208 million) mega project.
The PM directed Da Nang to include the project in the city’s master plan if the investment was still considered necessary and to report the change to him.
The Government Office’s statement stressed that any investment procedures related to the project could only be carried out after the PM approves the new master plan.
Tho believed that the PM did not mean to “suspend” the project but only required Da Nang to collaborate with the central government in selecting the most reasonable project plan and to add it to the city’s master plan.
Regarding the investment fund, Tho said the city would receive enough money from its budget and land lease revenue to build the underwater tunnel.
The 1.3km-long, six-lane tunnel – 900m of which will be under the river – will be the first traffic route under the Han River. It will also be the second river tunnel in Viet Nam after HCM City’s Thu Thiem Tunnel.
In 2015, the Bridge & Tunnel Consultants (BRITEC) company, assigned to develop some key tunnels in Viet Nam by the transport ministry, proposed building a tunnel in Da Nang, beginning at the Dong Da-Tran Phu junction in Hai Chau District and ending on Van Don Street in Son Tra District.
Experts were less enthusiastic, voicing anxiety over BRITEC’s plan at a seminar and suggesting that the city should look carefully at the project’s funding, maintenance and construction costs. They said the tunnel would not be an ideal solution to the city’s traffic problems either now or in the future. Besides, building a bridge is cheaper and easier, they argued.
Currently, Da Nang has six major bridges to ease traffic flow within and outside the city: Thuan Phuoc, the Han Swing Bridge, Rong (Dragon) and Tran Thi Ly, as well as Tuyen Son and Nguyen Tri Phuong, in addition to Nguyen Van Troi Bridge, built in the 1960s.
The city has started construction of a tunnel at the junction of Le Duan and Tran Phu and plans to build another one at the busiest roundabouts: Dien Bien Phu, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Le Do.
Da Nang has been investing a lot in urban development as it targets becoming a green city by 2025.
In 2013, the World Bank agreed to provide $202 million for a $272-million sustainable development project to help improve the city’s Bus Rapid Transit network, build new roads and revamp the existing drainage system.