Work to start on Vietnam’s section of transnational road

Construction of the 220km Vietnamese segment of a transnational highway linking the greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will begin in the second quarter of the year, says Duong Tuan Minh, general director of the My Thuan Project Management Unit.

The 1,000-km highway will run from Bangkok city in Thailand, pass Kok Kong town and Sihanoukville city in Cambodia, and reach the Vietnamese border town of Ha Tien in Kien Giang province before ending at Ca Mau province, where it meets the country’s National Highway 1A.

Its section in Thailand has been built and just 34 kilometres in the Cambodian section remain to be completed.

Vietnam’s 220-km section, which runs on the western coast of the Mekong Delta and is expected to be completed at the end of 2013, will need an investment of about US$500 million, Minh says.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will loan Vietnam US$75 million for the first phase of the project, which cost US$390 million. The remaining capital will be sourced through a US$25 million ODA loan from Australia and a preferential loan of US$134 million from the Republic of Korea. Vietnam will use its contingency cost for site clearance. The second phase of the project is also expected to receive capital assistance from ADB fund.

Experts have said the highway will enhance the socio-economic development in not only the provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau, but also the adjacent provinces of An Giang, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang, and Can Tho city.

Authorities in Kien Giang and Ca Mau are carrying out site clearance work for the construction of the highway, which ADB country director in Vietnam, Ayumi Konishi, has called a corridor that will open up opportunities for cooperation and development.