Metro line 1 Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien is one of the city's strategic projects. (Photo: tuoitre.vn)
HCM City (VNA) - The first metro tunnel running from Ba Son Station to the Municipal Theatre in District 1 is expected to be completed by the end of this month, two months ahead of schedule, according to the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways. 

As of October 18, 775 metres of the 781-metre long underground passage had been completed after five months of construction.

The tunnel is part of the HCM City’s metro route No.1 connecting Ben Thanh Terminal in District 1 with Suoi Tien Terminal in District 9.

The installation of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) began in March and tunnel construction in May.

More than 40 engineers and workers have been working around the clock to complete the tunnel, according to a representative of Japan’s Shimizu-Meada Joint Operation, the main contractor for the tunnel project.  

Following completion, the TBM, a 70-metre long machine weighing 300 metric tonnes, will be disassembled.

Its parts will be transported back to Ba Son Station to be re-assembled – a three-month long project – before construction of a second tunnel between Ba Son and the Municipal Theatre begins.

The entire tunnel is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which funded the metro project, this is the first time that a TBM has been used in Vietnam.

The technology used with the machine helps minimise vibrations and noise during the tunnel construction.

Metro line No. 1 will have 19.7km of track passing through District 1 through District 2, District 9 and Binh Thanh and Thu Duc districts.

Construction started in August 2012, with the line expected to open in 2020.

After years of delays due to numerous adjustments, the cost of the project has risen to more than 47 trillion VND (2.49 billion USD), according to the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways.- VNA