Ho Chi Minh City announces massive tree removal plan for metro station

By Dinh Muoi, Thanh Nien News

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Trees along Ton Duc Thang in Ho Chi Minh downtown. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Trees along Ton Duc Thang in Ho Chi Minh downtown. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

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Ho Chi Minh City has announced a plan to move and cut down 300 trees on Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1 to make space for a bridge connecting to District 2 and a metro station.
Hoang Nhu Cuong, an urban development official, said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the metro station in front of Ba Son Shipyard will affect 16 trees, 12 of which will be felled.
Work on the metro station is scheduled to start this November.
Cuong did not reveal how many trees will be cut for the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge that will link Districts 1 and 2.
District 2 can now be reached via the Saigon River Tunnel and the Thu Thiem 1 Bridge. The district is home to many new residential projects which will soon form what many hope to be a modern suburb.
Dong Van Khiem from the city’s Union of Science and Technology Associations said at the conference that most trees on Ton Duc Thang are more than 60 years old.
They are mahogany trees, which local urban planners have named in a list of trees that should not be planted because their massive roots can damage the streets. 
A representative of the contractor responsible for building Ba Son metro station said it costs around VND5 million (US$223) to chop down a tree but four times more to move and replant it elsewhere.
Cuong said the trees that are moved will be replanted at parks while timber from the other trees will also be used for public purposes.
Ton Duc Thang is considered one of the most beautiful streets in Vietnam’s southern metropolis thanks in large part to its massive canopy of trees.
But several were cut down in late 2014.
Many city dwellers were upset when the city abruptly denuded the heart of District 1 of trees in July 2014 to make way for the country’s first subway station.

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