|Construction of the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway project was launched on Saturday. The 140km road with four lanes will be completed in 2017.—VNS Photo Cong Thanh
QUANG NAM (VNS)— The first sods were turned on Saturday at the 140km Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway project, the expansion of National Highway 1A and a new tunnel through two passes near the Hai Van Tunnel, all in central provinces.
The groundbreaking ceremonies were attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who also presided at the official opening of the 500-bed Thua Thien Hue General Hospital on the same day.
The VND28 trillion (US$1.47 billion) expressway in Dien Ban District is being funded with $631 million from the World Bank and $673 million from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
The 26m-wide four-lane link will wind through Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, permitting vehicles to travel at 120kph, reducing the time for the journey from three hours to two.
Phuc said at the ceremony the highway was a key part of the national road plan. It would connect industrial parks in Da Nang, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai and help boost transport in the East-West Economic Corridor that links Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam.
Project investor Viet Nam Expressway Corporation General Director Mai Tuan Anh said the road was an important part of the National North-South Highway. Scheduled to finish in 2017, it would have 126 bridges and a 540m tunnel.
Meanwhile, traffic circulation in the North-South route's Hue section would be improved when two road projects in central Thua Thien Hue Province were completed.
Of the expansion of National Highway 1A and the construction of a tunnel through two passes near Hai Van Tunnel, Phuc said the projects would change traffic conditions throughout the province and boost development in Thua Thien Hue and neighbouring provinces.
Phuc, who is also head of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, said the average speed would be higher and safety would be improved.
The national highway extension of 31km from the northern border of the province to the tunnel would be expanded in width to four lanes, from 14m wide to 20.5m to 25.5m wide. The total investment was VND2.2 trillion (US$105 million) under a build-operate-transfer contract. Construction was expected to take two years.
The 11.5m two-lane tunnel, to be completed in 18 months at a cost of VND1.7 trillion ($83 million), would have a 345m section through Phuoc Tuong Pass and 497m section through Phu Gia Pass in Phu Loc District. It also would be completed under a build-operate-transfer contract.
This tunnel, adjacent to the Hai Van Tunnel, the country's longest, was expected to reduce accidents and travelling time between Thua Thien Hue and Da Nang.
Meanwhile, the official opening of the 500-bed Thua Thien Hue General Hospital had followed five months of trial operation. It was built on 7ha in Phong Dien District to reduce pressure on Hue Central Hospital.
It had the capacity to provide 750 medical check-ups a day for patients from Thua Thien Hue Province's northern districts and Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces.
Built with a loan of US$38.6 million from Korea Eximbank and the local budget, it is ranked as a level 2 standard.
People's Committee Deputy Chairman Ngo Hoa said Hue Central Hospital and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy would provide doctors and medical staff.
Construction of the hospital started in November 2009. — VNS