|The Asian Development Bank will lend Viet Nam US$410 million to build sections of a second arterial highway linking HCM City with the Mekong Delta and southern coastal region.—File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — The Asian Development Bank will lend Viet Nam US$410 million to build sections of a second arterial highway linking HCM City with the Mekong Delta and southern coastal region.
An agreement was signed between State Bank of Viet Nam governor Nguyen Van Binh and the director general of ADB's Southeast Department, James Nugent, in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
Under the Central Mekong Delta Region Connectivity Project, a section of the Second Southern Highway will be built with two cable-stayed bridges with a combined length of 5km and associated access and interconnecting roads totalling 26km.
The road will run along the boundaries of An Giang and Dong Thap Provinces and Can Tho to the west.
It should cut travel time between HCM City and Long Xuyen by an hour to 2.5 hours and from the Cao Lanh ferry to the Vam Cong ferry also by an hour to 30 minutes.
The distance from Cao Lanh to Long Xuyen will be reduced from 35.4km to 29km.
The highway is expected to open to traffic by the end of 2017.
In addition to the transport benefits, the project is also expected to help bring more inclusive development, improve access to basic social and health services, increase national food security, and facilitate private sector investment in the region.
The bridges and the highway are expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2017, benefiting 170,000 road users daily and helping generate 400,000 new jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
The project will incorporate design innovations to protect infrastructure from the impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta.
The project is expected to cost $860 million, with another AUD$160 million ($152.7 million) grant coming from the Australian Agency for International Development to fund the Cao Lanh bridge and interconnecting road.
A sum of $260 million from the Export-Import Bank of Korea will be used to construct the Vam Cong Bridge and its associated roadwork.
The Government will contribute $56 million.
"Viet Nam has a rapidly growing export-led economy, and the Mekong Delta is a key economic driver which produces more than 60 per cent of Viet Nam's agricultural and fishery outputs and is the third largest industrial centre," Rustam Ishenaliev, ADB's Transport Specialist for the department, said in a press release.
"This transport link will help open up Viet Nam's western provinces in the Mekong Delta and support its economic and industrial development."
The bank also agreed to provide preferential credit of $80 million for an $87.58 million rural infrastructure project in the Central Highlands from the Asian Development Fund.
The project, to be completed between 2014 and 2018, will assist efforts to reduce poverty by developing technical and social infrastructure and improving socio-economic conditions in the five provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai, and Kon Tum. — VNS