Da Nang mulls building Vietnam’s second submarine tunnel

16.06.2016

A central Vietnamese city is expected to join Ho Chi Minh City as the only Vietnamese localities to have an underwater tunnel beneath a major river.

The plan to build a tunnel under the iconic Han River in Da Nang, Vietnam’s central hub, was first unveiled late last year. Since then, the municipal administration has been taking steps to realize the ambitious, and costly, megaproject.More details of the proposed construction were revealed during a meeting between the city’s administration, a construction consultant, Bridge and Tunnel Engineering Consultants (BRITEC), and other relevant departments and agencies on Wednesday.

According to the consultant firm, the Han River tunnel will connect the 3/2 – Dong Da intersection in Hai Chau District with the Van Don roundabout in Son Tra District.Hai Chau is the main district of Da Nang, housing the city’s administrative center, while Son Tra sits east of the Han River on the edge of the East Vietnam Sea.The construction is expected to cover a total of 1,315 meters, with the submarine path measuring 900 meters long and able to accommodate six lanes of traffic.

The project will cost Da Nang VND4.08 trillion (US$182.14 million).BRITEC said the project will take approximately three years to complete, with the groundbreaking slated for the last quarter of this year.After the BRITEC’s presentation, Vu Quang Hung, director of the municipal construction department, questioned the consultant about the tunnel’s connectivity with the existing traffic system, safety precautions during construction, operational and maintenance costs, and emergency response plans.

In the meantime, the municipal administration underlined the importance of considering natural factors such as storms and floods during construction to ensure the project is completed on time while still meeting quality standards.A BRITEC representative responded that the annual maintenance cost for the tunnel is estimated at VND24 billion ($1.07 million) and emergency response units will be established at the two ends of the tunnel, once opened to traffic, to take action if emergencies arise, the company added.

Concluding the meeting, the city’s chairman Huynh Duc Tho asserted that the underwater tunnel will be the most complicated traffic infrastructure to have ever been developed in Da Nang.Tho therefore requested that all relevant parties, from consultation to development and operation, must complete their jobs adequately and carefully in order to optimize the project’s implementation.

Citing concerns about the capital needed for the project, Tho said the city will try to allocate money from the municipal budget, as well as putting some coastal land plots up for auction to raise funds for the project.

The Han River tunnel planning, however, has generated mixed responses from local residents and experts questioning the project’s cost and necessity.

Supporters of the project say the tunnel will be icing on the cake for Da Nang, already known for its beautiful beaches, clean environment, and peaceful lifestyle, factors that contribute to its role as the leading tourism hub in central Vietnam.

However, the Da Nang administration has been accused of wasting money just to ‘compete’ with Ho Chi Minh City, home to the Saigon River Tunnel – Vietnam’s first-ever submarine tunnel and arguably the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Other naysayers believe the project is an unnecessary addition to the six bridges already crossing the Han River, including such well-known structures as Thuan Phuoc, Han River, and Rong (Dragon) Bridges.

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Source: Tuoi Tre News

Photo: CBR Investment AG