Chinese builder ordered to clean house after second railway collapse in Hanoi

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Work at the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway project. Photo: Ha An Work at the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway project. Photo: Ha An


Vietnam's Minister of Transportation has ordered a Chinese contractor to replace its consultants and subcontractors with locals following a string of accidents on the site of a Hanoi railway project.
During a Sunday meeting with China Railway Sixth Group Co. Ltd., Minister Dinh La Thang insisted the state-owned firm replace the chief manager and consultants at the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway with employees of Vietnam's state-owned Civil Construction Engineering Corporation (CIENCO).
Thang called the meeting a week after a deadly accident on the site of the future railway.
Falling concrete and steel buried a passing taxi, but the driver and three passengers were rescued. Several parked cars in the area were also smashed.
The ministry has already demoted and suspended several officials overseeing the project.
On November 6, another accident at the project site killed Nguyen Nhu Ngoc, 33, on the spot.
A crane cable suddenly broke, sending a steel beam onto several motorbikes.
Three other victims survived with injuries.
Thang said the accidents made the project “the worst” in Vietnam.
He said the Chinese contractor has taken responsibility for each of the incidents, but failed to make good on their pledges to address the underlying safety problems.
“I no longer trust your promises,” Thang told representatives from the contractor at the meeting.
He asked the company’s top leaders to come down from China and inspect the site. He also implored them to send more units to ensure the project stays on schedule.
Once completed, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong railway will link Cat Linh Street to Yen Nghia Bus Station in Ha Dong District, making 12 stops along the way.
Work on the 13km track was originally slated to begin in August 2008 and finish in November 2013.
But work only began in October 2011.
The Chinese contractor has delayed the project and caused the initial estimated cost of US$552 million to balloon by another $339 million.

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