Parliament wants southern Vietnam's longest expressway to be completed in 2024

By Phuoc Tuan   October 2, 2022 | 11:50 pm PT
Parliament wants southern Vietnam's longest expressway to be completed in 2024
A section of the Ben Luc - Long Thanh Expressway running through a mangrove forest in Dong Nai Province, August 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The investor of Ben Luc – Long Thanh Expressway should finish the project in 2024 instead of 2025, the National Assembly chairman ordered.

Leading a delegation to inspect the expressway project in Dong Nai Province that borders Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday, National Assembly (NA)chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said: "Related units should boost progress to cut the construction time by one year."

In June, state-owned Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), the project investor, asked for the government's permission to extend the project's completion deadline from 2023 to the third quarter of 2025.

The expressway runs 57.7 kilometers between the provinces of Long An in the Mekong Delta and Dong Nai and passes through Ho Chi Minh City. Once complete, it will be the longest in southern Vietnam.

Work started on the VND31 trillion ($1.34 billion) plus project in 2014 and initially, it was set to be completed in five years. Funding issues have delayed it several times.

At the meeting with the NA leader, Pham Hong Quang, general director of VEC, said several construction packages have been stalled as contractors have refused to continue working on them due to investment fund issues though the site clearance process has basically been completed.

However, most recently, the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) has agreed for the VEC to use the toll fees it had collected temporarily and several other reserves to pay the debts it owes contractors.

Therefore, chairman Hue said the funding issue, the biggest challenge as cited by the investor, has been resolved leaving no reason for the project to be delayed further. He said Ben Luc – Long Thanh is an important route of the Southern Key Economic Zone, which comprises of HCMC and the seven provinces of Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang.

Connected to Dong Nai’s Long Thanh airport, which will replace HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat to become Vietnam’s biggest, the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway will run through a mangrove forest in Dong Nai Province’s Long Thanh District.

The four-lane route with two emergency lanes will allow a maximum speed of 120kph and is expected to boost connections between the Mekong Delta and the rest of the southern region.

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