The two tunnels, about 800 meters long, will be part of Vietnam’s first railway with an underground section.

General contractors Shimizu Corp. and Maeda Corp. will build the tunnels using the so-called shield method, which allows them to dig the tunnels with excavators while curbing ground vibrations and noise. It will take one year to complete the work.

The railway, scheduled to go into operation in November 2020, will serve as a new means of transportation for commuters, while being expected to help ease chronic traffic congestion in Ho Chi Minh City.

The railway is “indispensable for a better living environment for citizens and for the further development in Vietnam,” Junichi Kawaue, Japanese consul-general in the city, said at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, expressed gratitude for Japan’s support.

The Japanese public and private sectors are cooperating for the construction of the railway, with support measures including driver training and know-how on train operations, as well as financing from the government under its official development assistance program.

Jiji Press - May 28, 2017