Transport ministry proposes expressway linking HCMC with cash crop province

By Anh Duy   December 7, 2020 | 06:15 pm PT
Transport ministry proposes expressway linking HCMC with cash crop province
Vehicles travel on National Highway 14 where a proposed expressway from HCMC to Binh Phuoc would link to, November 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
The Transport Ministry has asked the government for feedback on its proposal for a new expressway connecting HCMC with Binh Phuoc Province.

The expressway would run 69 km (43 miles) through Binh Duong Province, which sits between Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Phuoc, a southern province famous for cultivation of cash crops including rubber, pepper and cashew. At present, vehicles have to travel 120 km and use part of National Highway 13.

The expressway, first suggested by Binh Phuoc, will fit in with the national expressway network development plan, the ministry said.

Once open to traffic, it would increase connectivity among HCMC, the industrial hub of Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc, improve transportation capacity and boost socio-economic development in not just the three localities, but the entire Southern Key Economic Zone.

The zone comprises six southeastern localities: HCMC, the industrial hubs of Dong Nai and Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc provinces plus the Mekong Delta provinces of Long An and Tien Giang.

As proposed, the expressway will have six to eight lanes and will be built under the public–private partnership (PPP) and the build–operate–transfer (BOT) investment modes.

It will run parallel to National Highway 13 and link to National Highway 14 that runs across Binh Phuoc.

Depending on the locations of either end of the expressway, the project would cost between VND21.6 trillion ($933.8 million) and VND33 trillion ($1.43 billion).

At a conference held last month to discuss ways to boost traffic infrastructure development in the southeastern region, officials and experts agreed that a lack of regional connectivity and overload at major gateways was preventing the region from reaching its full potential.

Tran Dinh Thien, a member of the prime minister’s economic advisory group, told the meeting that the region, along with the entire Southern Key Economic Zone, was by far "the most exceptional, because with its outstanding internal resources, it has contributed more than half of the nation's economic growth, bigger than the remaining three zones (northern, central and Mekong Delta zones) combined."

However, the growth rate of the zone has declined in recent years, and its role as the driving force of the nation’s economy has weakened over time due to the lack of regional connectivity, a shortage of ring roads and expressways.

Slow implementation of approved traffic projects, and mismatches among traffic junctions were also proving to be roadblocks, it was noted at the meeting.

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