The Ministry of Transport has approved a 1.95 trillion VND (83.85 million USD) project on upgrading weak bridges along the railway connecting Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
Of the total, 40.3 billion VND (1.73 million USD) is earmarked for preparation works, including construction designs and land clearance, this year. The project will repair 133 bridges scattered across 15 provinces and cities. Following the completion of a report on the project's feasibility slated for October 2019, the construction is expected to begin in April next year. Twenty-five bridges, whose designs are already available, will be upgraded earlier in January. The entire project is set to be finished in 2021. According to the Railway Management Board, most bridges on the railway connecting Hanoi and HCM City were built a century ago during the French colonial period. Their stone and concrete abutments have weathered over time, while many steel girders are cracked and covered in rust. Meanwhile, the development of river transport has put pressure on weak railway bridges. To ensure safety and minimise losses caused by collisions between waterway vehicles and railway bridges, there is an urgent need for repair or replacement.
Also, railway lines were severely damaged during wars. Although bridges have been repaired, their capacities are still limited, reducing the railway's competitiveness compared to other means of transport.
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