ADB finances traffic project linking city with delta
By Anh Quan – The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend Vietnam US$410 million to build traffic infrastructure connecting HCMC to the Mekong Delta, with the travel time between the city and Long Xuyen aimed to be reduced to 2.5 hours.
Two cable-stayed bridges with a combined length of five kilometers and associated access and interconnecting roads totaling 26 kilometers will be built under the Central Mekong Delta Region Connectivity Project. The project will build a section of the second southern highway running on the boundaries of An Giang, Can Tho and Dong Thap to the west of the Mekong Delta Region, says a press release from the ADB on Monday.
The two bridges and the interconnecting road will cut the time for travel between HCMC and Long Xuyen from 3.5 to 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, the travel time from Cao Lanh Ferry to Vam Cong Ferry will fall from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes.
In addition, the travel distance from Cao Lanh to Long Xuyen will be reduced from 35.4 to 29 kilometers. The highway is expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2017.
When the bridges and the highway are open to traffic, they will benefit 170,000 road users daily and generate 400,000 new jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors, says the press release.
Rustam Ishenaliev, transport specialist from the ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said: “Vietnam has a rapidly growing export-led economy, and the Mekong Delta is a key economic driver which produces more than 60% of Vietnam’s agricultural and fishery outputs and the third largest industrial center.”
“This transport link will help open up Vietnam’s western provinces in the Mekong River Delta and support its economic and industrial development,” he said.
The project is expected to cost US$860 million, with US$410 million to be sourced from the ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources.
In addition, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) will grant AUD$160 million, or around US$142 million, for construction of Cao Lanh Bridge and interconnecting road. Parallel financing of US$260 million from the Export-Import Bank of Korea will be used to construct Vam Cong Bridge and its associated road works.
The Government of Vietnam will contribute US$56 million towards the cost of the project.
As planned by the Ministry of Transport, if design and bidding were finished early, the project would get off the ground right in 2013.
The Mekong Delta is divided by the Tien River and the Hau River. Although there have been My Thuan Bridge and Can Tho Bridge, vehicles traveling between the Mekong Delta localities still have to take Vam Cong Ferry across the Tien River and Cao Lanh Ferry across the Hau River.