Road from HCMC to run along entire Mekong Delta coast

By Hoang Nam, Huy Phong   November 25, 2020 | 10:00 pm PT
Road from HCMC to run along entire Mekong Delta coast
A coastal road in Ha Tien Town of Kien Giang Province, November 2020. Photo by VnExpress.
The government has approved in principle the construction of a 740-km coastal road along the length of the Mekong Delta connecting HCMC.

It will start in Ho Chi Minh City and go up to Ha Tien Town in Kien Giang through the coastal provinces of Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau.

The project will make the most of existing roads, upgrading or widening them where necessary, Tran Van Bon, director of the Tien Giang Province Department of Transport, said on Tuesday.

The road was approved by the government 10 years ago.

But crisscrossing waterways and estuaries in the delta and a lack of investment have put it in limbo for a long time.

It is expected that around 90 hectares (222 acres) of land has to be acquired for building it.

Construction is likely to start next year and finish in 2025.

The government will later identify contractors for the work.

The Mekong Delta is the southernmost part of Vietnam, and was created by the Mekong River, which splits into nine major branches before reaching the sea.

"Once the coastal road is finished, it will be easier to travel between Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Long An, and HCMC and the distance will be reduced by tens of kilometers," Bon said.

It will also ease the overload on National Highways 1A and 50, which are currently the only roads running from HCMC through the delta.

HCMC-Trung Luong, the only expressway connecting HCMC and the delta, have suffered heavy damage after a decade in use.

Two weeks ago at a meeting with legislators, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said the government has approved a five-year $2 billion allotment for infrastructure development in the delta.

Funding for the coastal road would come from that, he said.

He had said at a meeting in August that the road would not just serve traffic purposes but create an economic corridor and give a boost to the region’s socio-economic development.

Lawmakers and officials have been saying for years that infrastructure connectivity between Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta was badly lacking, and this was proving to be a development bottleneck.

The government is currently planning seven major expressways running 1,000 km for the Mekong Delta at a cost of VND150 trillion ($6.49 billion).

The delta is home to around 20 million people, or a fifth of Vietnam’s population.

It is a rice basket and aquaculture hub that accounts for most of the nation's rice and seafood exports.

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