Thu Thiem opens to traffic17 November 2011
The Thu Thiem Tunnel was due to open to traffic on 20 November as T&TI went to press. Japan-based Obayashi engineered the 1.49km-long, 33x9m tunnel in the Vietnamese city. Final checks and drainage tweaks at the ends of the tunnel were underway early last month followed by a '2,500-youth walk' through the tunnel, led by Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.
The USD 189M Thu Thiem Tunnel is part of the 22km East West Highway and runs under Saigon River at a four per cent maximum grade. It connects Ho Chi Minh Districts One and Two. The local government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency funded the tunnel jointly. Early in the tunnel's construction moisture had to be dealt with in the first two sections of the tunnel, though Oriental Consultant Company confirmed the ingress did not constitute leakage.
The final feasibility report was submitted in 1997. Construction on the project was due to begin in 2003 as reported by T&TI, but was delayed until 2004 by site clearance and 'family relocation difficulties'.