HCM City to submit airport metro proposal to PM

HCM City early next year plans to submit for approval to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc a 276 million USD metro-line project to Tan Son Nhat international airport in Tan Binh district, the country’s busiest airport.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City. (Photo: tansonnhatairport.vn)

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City. (Photo: tansonnhatairport.vn)

Construction of the 2km metro line, which would run from Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh district to the airport, is expected to start in 2019 if everything goes smoothly, city authorities have said.

Consultants from the Republic of Korea have finished the preliminary feasibility study, according to the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR).

The metro route, which will link Hoang Van Thu Park with the airport, will include two underground stops at the park and at the international terminal. An underground pedestrian tunnel will also be connected with the domestic terminal.

The metro station at the airport, which will have three basements, is expected to serve 3,366 people a day by 2043, according to the feasibility study.

The Hoang Van Thu Park station will also have three basements, with the second basement connected to metro line No 5 (from Bay Hien intersection to the new Can Guoc Bus Station).

The metro station will serve about 3,429 people a day by 2043, according to the feasibility study.

Of the estimated 276 million USD cost, the RoK will lend 90 percent of the total investment with the remainder coming from the State budget.

The plan will be submitted to the PM in the first quarter of 2017. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with completion in 2024.

The new metro line aims to reduce traffic congestion at the area around the airport, which was not initially included in the approved metro plan by the Government, according to MAUR.

In recent years, the number of people coming to the airport has been increasing rapidly, worsening traffic at roads leading to the airport.

The HCM City People’s Committee has also asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to approve technical consultancy from the RoK.

Around 269,000 passengers and other visitors go to the airport every day, with the number of people going to the international terminal more than 144,000, according to MAUR.

Le Khac Huynh, deputy head of MAUR, said that it was essential to build the metro link to the airport as the demand for air travel had increased significantly and most roads leading to the airport were overloaded.

Dr Pham Sanh, a traffic expert, said the metro route and link were necessary but the city must study the projet carefully to prevent waste of capital.

Sanh explained that, in addition to newly expanded roads leading to the airport, there will be more overpasses in this area.

He said there should also be more links to other parts of the city from the airport to prevent congestion at the airport area.

Nguyen Van Tam, deputy director of the city’s Department of Transport, said the metro route was expected to meet the high demand of passengers in the city’s urban districts.

When the current airport is moved to Long Thanh international airport in the southern province of Dong Nai, it would still be necessary to build the metro route because of high travel demand in the area, he said.

Prof Le Huy Ba, former head of the Institute of Science and Technology and Environment Management of the HCM City Industry University, said the city must consider the project carefully as it would be difficult to make use of only 2km of metro.

Because the Tan Son Nhat airport area is a flood-prone area, MAUR must carefully study the technical construction requirements for the 2km metro line.

Otherwise, it would be too costly and time-consuming to maintain the metro line after it is built, Ba said.

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