Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Transport’s Railway Project Management Board has invited bids for the upgrade of six dilapidated bridges along the North – South railway in central Da Nang city and Quang Nam province.

It is the first part of a project to renovate and upgrade critical infrastructure along the Hanoi – Vinh and Nha Trang – Sai Gon stretches of the railway.

The 11-package project has a total investment of nearly 1.95 trillion VND (83.08 million USD) and is expected to be completed in eight months. Work on the package is scheduled to begin in May.

The Railway Project Management Board said the bidding was open to the public to select a capable contractor.

Upgrades to the Hanoi – Vinh and Nha Trang – Sai Gon stretches are among the four “urgent” projects along the North – South railway that will use 7 trillion VND from the State budget reserves for mid-term investment during the 2016-2020 period.

According to the board, most of the bridges along the line were built at least a century ago under French standards that are no longer appropriate.

Stone and concrete abutments have weathered over time, and steel girders split or been covered in rust.

Moreover, many lines were severely damaged during the wartime. Though the bridges were repaired, their capacity remains limited and lowers the competitiveness of rail compared to other means of transport.

The need for repair or replacement has become urgent in order to ensure safety. Failing to upgrade low-quality bridges along the North-South line would create risks for both trains and passengers./.