MANILA, PHILIPPINES (VNS)— The Asian Development Bank will lend US$410 million to Viet Nam to build a second arterial highway connecting HCM City with the Mekong Delta.
The Second Southern Highway running from the city to Kien Giang Province in the west of the delta will comprise of two cable-stayed bridges with a combined length of 5km and associated access and interconnecting roads totalling 26km.
The road, to be built as part of the Central Mekong Delta Region Connectivity Project, will run through Can Tho and An Giang and Dong Thap Provinces.
“Viet Nam has a rapidly growing export-led economy, and the Mekong Delta is a key economic driver which produces more than 60 per cent of Viet Nam’s agricultural and fishery outputs and is the third largest industrial centre,” Rustam Ishenaliev, Transport Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said.
“This transport link will help open up Viet Nam’s western provinces in the Mekong Delta and support its economic and industrial development.”
According to ADB estimation, the two bridges and the interconnecting road should cut travel time between HCM City and Long Xuyen from 3 hours and a half to 2 hours and a half.
Travel time from the Cao Lanh ferry station to the Vam Cong ferry should fall from 90 to 30 minutes, and the distance from Cao Lanh to Long Xuyen will be reduced from 35.4km to 29km.
In addition to these benefits, the project is also expected to support more inclusive development, improve access to basic social and health services, improve food security, and facilitate private sector investment in the region.
The bridges and the highway are expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2017, benefiting 170,000 road users daily, and generate 400,000 jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
The project will incorporate design innovations to protect infrastructure from the impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta, including more frequent severe weather events, violent seasonal flooding, and sea level rise.
The work is expected to cost $860 million, with $410 million coming from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources, and AUD$160 million ($143.4 million) grant financing from the Australian Agency for International Development for the Cao Lanh bridge and interconnecting road.
Another $260 million from the Export-Import Bank of South Korea will be used to build the Vam Cong Bridge and its associated roads.
The Vietnamese Government will contribute $56 million.
Construction of Cao Lanh and Vam Cong bridges is scheduled to start in September of this year, said Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang at a meeting with the Dong Thap People’s Committee in early June —VNS