Sunday, November 11, 2001

Trans-Asian Road Delay

This week, I came across an article online via UOPHX’s library search from “The Vietnam Investment Review” describing delays in the building of the trans-Asian roadway project. The goal in completing the project is to “help build an effective, harmonized and advanced transport network between Asian member countries … to promote economic linkage and development in the region.”

However, after completing a little more than 50% of the project, a determination has been made that upon 100% completion, the project’s finish date will have slipped by nearly one year and the required investment capital will have almost doubled to near $60 million.

The discussions as to the reason for the delay and cost over-runs seem to center around poor design issues related to the actual road and bridges required as well as poor advance knowledge as to soil conditions that might be encountered. The current vendors complain that design instructions were referenced but missing from the original bid packages and the soil information was not even mentioned in the bid packages.

From the article, one might conclude that at stake is a public affairs project for which the public’s instigators did not do their preparation work adequately. On the other hand, I would question the vendor as well given that they received a bid package seemingly without adequate instructional detail or environmental information, and yet they chose to ignore those shortcomings and file a bid response anyway. So to a large extent both party’s planning and preparation facilities are responsible for this situation.

On a related note, I would also probe into why and how the project got past the halfway point before these trouble spots came to light. Was there something unique to the situation as in the sections lacking instructional detail and possessing the poor soil conditions were help until the second half or was the vendor “valiantly” struggling along without informing project management of the pitfalls until they deemed they were far enough along to assure their request for increased cost and time over-runs. (However, this view may simply be the cynic in me!)

How it gets resolved to the public’s benefit remains to be seen.


The Vietnam Investment Review (October 1, 2001). Trans-Asian road project delayed by inefficient designs. [Online].

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