The project has a total length of 13.4 kilometers, with Ca Pass Tunnel and Co Ma Tunnel stretching 3.9 kilometers and 500 meters respectively. It starts from Hoa Xuan Commune in Phu Yen’s Dong Hoa District and ends at Van Tho Commune in Khanh Hoa’s Van Ninh District.

The tunnel will be designed in line with local expressway standards allowing for a designed speed of 80 kilometers an hour. Steel and reinforced concrete steels will be used for building the tunnel’s bridge.

The scheme will be carried out under the format of BOT and BT with a total investment of about VND15.6 trillion. Around VND10.55 trillion is set aside for constructing the tunnel and some VND4.5 trillion for approach roads and the bridge while site-clearance and resettlement for the project takes a cost of VND539 billion.

It is developed by a consortium comprising Hanoi Construction Corporation, Highlands & South of Central Mai Linh Group and Hai Thach BOT Investment JSC and Asia JSC, with Deo Ca Investment Co. serving as project owner. A consortium of Egis Becoem International and Hoang Long Construction Consulting JSC is the project’s consultant.

When in place, the project is expected to help reduce traffic accidents and cut the travel time by three-fourths compared to running over the pass. Besides, it also connects Phu Yen with Van Phong Economic Zone and Nha Trang City, opening up a great chance for large economic centers, industrial parks and tourism areas in the central region to link up with one another.

Pham Van Hoa, director of Phu Yen Road Maintenance Company, said traffic safety through the pass has for year been a big problem due to frequent rockslides on the pass. The tunnel once in place in 2016, therefore, will enhance traffic efficiency on National Highway 1A, he said in Phap Luat.

The technical design for the tunnel is being finalized by the French-based contractor Vinci, while the construction technology is from Austria, says the paper.

Financial arrangements for the project have also been completed, according to Phap Luat.

Last November, two French banks Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank and Societe Generale signed a memorandum of understanding with Deo Ca Investment Co. to provide a syndicated loan of US$800 million for the project. In September, 2012, the project owner also signed a credit agreement with the local institution Vietinbank to take out a loan of VND364 billion to finance several components of the project.

By Duong Thanh Xuan - The Saigon Times Daily - November 19,2012