Vietnam plans new expressway connecting Hanoi and HCMC

By Doan Loan, Toan Dao   October 7, 2016 | 11:00 pm PT
Vietnam plans new expressway connecting Hanoi and HCMC
Part of Vietnam's Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway. Photo by VnExpress
The Ministry of Transport now seems to favor the project over a much more expensive plan for a high-speed rail link.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is seeking approval for a new 1,372-kilometer expressway linking Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as the exsiting north-south National Highway 1 has become overburdened.

In a proposal submitted to the government, the ministry expects to secure a go-ahead by July 2017 and to start construction no later than May 2019.

It hopes that work on the whole project, worth about $10.2 billion, will complete by December 2022. The government is expected to cover 40 percent of the cost while private investors will chip in the rest.

The designed maximum speed is 120 kilometers per hour, or nearly 75 miles per hour.

The project, if approved, will form part of a larger national expressway that runs more than 1,800 km from north to south. The other sections, totaling 470 kilometers, are under construction and set to be completed by 2020.

The construction of the Hanoi-HCMC expressway is urgent for various reasons, local media reported Friday, citing Vice Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat.

He said that the north-south National Highway 1 has been overloaded by an increasingly large number of vehicles in recent years. Residential areas along the highway make it impossibile to expand the road to accommodate more traffic.

In March, the government unveiled plans to expand the network of national expressways from 2,500 km in 2020 to 6,411 km by 2030.

The ministry has also planned to build a high-speed rail link connecting Hanoi and HCMC. Such a project could cost a lot more than expessways and would also require technical support from foreign companies and partners.

In 2010 the ministry proposed a $56-billion high-speed railway but it was rejected by legislators. Last month, local media reported that transport officials were trying to revive the plan, but a new cost estimate and further details have not been provided.

Related news:

> Expressway operator backs down on toll hikes, cuts fees instead

> Vietnam targets over 6,400km of expressway by 2030

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