HCM CITY — Officials from the Transport Ministry are considering a plan to widen Highway No 1 to four lanes for automobiles and two lanes for motorbikes, with a total length of 1,100 km under a Prime Minister's instruction.
|Vehicles on the new Phu Dong 2 Bridge along National Highway No 1. Transport Ministry officials are considering widening the highway to four lanes for automobiles and two lanes for motorbikes. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
Capital for the north-south highway will be mobilised from all sources under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) form, according to Nguyen Hong Truong, deputy minister of transport.
"After the project is finished, tolls will be collected, which will amount to 50 – 70 per cent of the current tolls on the existing highway," Truong was quoted as saying in Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times).
However, the ministry's plan for Highway No 1 expansion has been criticised by a number of experts.
"This figure that is quoted, VND105 trillion (US$5 billion), is too small. In addition, the BOT form, which would apply for both the Highway No 1 extension and North-South Express Way, will make it more difficult to seek investors," said Nguyen Ngoc Long, vice chairman of the Bridge and Road Science and Technology Association.
He said the four-year timeline for construction for a 1,100km road was too short.
"Instead, the ministry should choose which part needs to be upgraded first," he said. "That will ensure there is enough capital for the work."
Long also said that most current BOT projects were having difficulty recouping the invested money, so the ministry must carefully consider the project feasibility and the time involved.
"At present, on Highway No 1, there are too many toll stations. What happens if more stations over a very short distance collect money?" Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of Viet Nam Automobile Transport Association, said.
Many experts have also complained that concurrent construction on both the extension and the North South Expressway would waste money. — VNS