PM okays highway upgrade

Friday, Jul 17, 2015 08:00

Prime Minister has approved the Dai Ngai Bridge project linking Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh with an estimated investment of VND13 trillion (US$596 million). — VNA/VNS Photo Truong Vi

HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved the Dai Ngai Bridge project, which will build 26 bridges on National Highway 60, linking Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh.

Last year, the Transport Ministry outlined the project with an estimated investment of VND13 trillion (US$596 million) for building 24 medium-sized bridges and two large bridges – Dai Ngai 1 and Dai Ngai 2 – along a 54km stretch of the highway.

Once complete, the bridges will help reduce the distance to travel from many coastal provinces of the Mekong Delta to HCM City by 70-100km and reduce the congestion on National Highway 1A.

The bridges will replace all ferries crossing Hau River in the coastal provinces from southernmost Ca Mau Province to HCM City. Some 4,000 vehicles use ferries to travel between Tra Vinh and Soc Trang daily.

The PM has asked the Transport Ministry to calculate the funding needed for the project.

The project will have two components, one of which will involve a build-operate-transfer contract with a private investor, while the other makes use of the State's budget.

The PM allowed private investors to collect toll at Dai Ngai Toll Station and Co Chien Bridge to earn back their investment.

The Transport Ministry was asked to find competent investors.

Highway 91 expansion

The Thang Long Project Management Board has proposed a VND2.24 trillion (US$100.9 million) plan for expanding a 7km section of National Highway 91.

Under the plan, the section that runs from the Hung Vuong Bus Terminal crossroads to Binh Thuy District's Tra Noc Ward in Can Tho City will have six lanes allowing vehicles to travel at 60km per hour. The width of this section will be expanded to 37m.

The Thang Long Project Management Board, which functions under the Transport Ministry, will be the project investor. It will spend about VND678 billion (US$31.1 million) on construction, over VND1.237 trillion (US$56.7 million) on land clearance and the rest of the investment for project management, consultancy services and budget reserves.

Vu Ngoc Duong, deputy managing director of the board, suggested that the Can Tho City People's Committee asked the central government to allocate funds from the 2016-20 medium-term investment plan that localities were directed by the PM to prepare last year. It should also ask for the release of funds in advance so that work on the project can begin next year, he said.

Dao Anh Dung, deputy chairman of the Can Tho People's Committee, said the city has agreed in principle with the proposal, and asked the board to include works like lighting, pavements, trees and a water drainage system in the project.

The project will affect about 1,000 households and 70 organisations, of which 150 households would have to be resettled.

Highway 91 is currently a two-lane road in the inner city that experiences a high circulation of vehicles with frequent traffic jams and accidents.

The proposal says that once the project is completed, improved traffic safety as well as traffic flow will serve socio-economic development in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta in general and Can Tho City in particular. — VNS

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