YEN BAI (VNS)— A ceremony was held on Saturday in northern Yen Bai Province's Van Yen District to celebrate the completion of a major tunnel on the new Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway.
The end of construction work means that now all four key components of the highway project have been finished.
The 530-metre tunnel, which is 9m in height and 14.5m in width, is located in Chau Que Thuong Commune. It is part of the highway project's Package A6 and building work began in January 2010.
The other development included in the same package is a 40-km stretch of road in Van Yen District, which will have two 80kmph carriageways and two emergency lanes.
South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company is in charge of managing the construction of the package, which is costing over VND2.4 trillion (US$115 million).
According to Do Chi Trung, head of the Viet Nam Expressway Investment and Development Corporation (VEC), a subsidiary of the Ministry of Transport, the other two particularly important highway projects are another tunnel on National Highway 2 and two bridges spanning the Lo and Hong rivers.
He said that the completion of the Chau Que Thuong tunnel again confirmed the determination of the VEC to meet its deadlines for the whole project.
The 260-km Noi Bai-Lao Cai highway, which will eventually run through Ha Noi, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai, is part of the Kunming-Hai Phong Transport Corridor, a co-operation programme between six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
The highway's first phase consists of eight packages, with a total capital investment of $1.3 billion coming in the form of loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
When completed, the highway will reduce the current 10 hour travelling time between Ha Noi and Lao Cai by half.
Speaking at Saturday's ceremony, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang asked the investors, contractors, consultants and supervisors to work closely together to complete all work on the whole highway before the deadline in eight months' time. He added that any sub-contractors causing delays or compromising quality must be replaced immediately.
The minister asked authorities in Lao Cai and Yen Bai to continue providing building materials and he called for the ADB to consider increasing its financial support, with the final stages of the project expected to face rising costs. — VNS