Hanoi's infamous elevated railway lags behind schedule, again

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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The Cat Linh-Ha Dong  Elevated Railway under construction in Hanoi
A Hanoi elevated railway project funded mostly by China will be at least half a year behind schedule as the Chinese main contractor failed to pay its sub-contractors to get the works done, according to the Ministry of Transport.
The Cat Linh-Ha Dong Elevated Railway was scheduled to finish late this year, but the deadline will be moved, once again, to June 30, 2016, deputy minister Nguyen Hong Truong said in a recent meeting.
The reason for the delay is that the China Railway Sixth Group Co. Ltd., the main contractor, still owes sub-contractors around VND367 billion (US$16.8 million) in total.
The project’s management board has received complaints from the sub-contractors, who asked for additional funding to continue. 
The project was first scheduled to start in August 2008 and finish in November 2013.
Its initial cost estimate in 2008 was $552 million.
China provided $419 million in official development assistance (ODA) and the rest came from Vietnam's state budget.
But the project only began in October 2011. The delay caused the estimated cost to increase by $339 million.
The project was scheduled to finish in late 2014, but the deadline was first moved to late 2015, and then March 2015, and June 30, 2015.
The notorious project also received bad reputation following several accidents, one of which was fatal.
On January 19 this year, workers at the project site caused a small fire when they were welding a scaffolding, slightly injuring several motorists on the street below.
On December 28, 2014, a scaffolding and mass of concrete collapsed at the project’s construction site, burying a passing taxi and badly damaging several parked cars. The taxi driver and three passengers were rescued.
On November 6, 2014, a heavy steel rod falling from a crane at the construction site of the project hit several motorbikes traveling in the street, killing a man and injuring three others.

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