|A part of the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway connecting Ha Noi to the northern province of Vinh Phuc which was officially opened to traffic yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
VINH PHUC (VNS)— A 26-km section of the Noi Bai – Lao Cai Expressway connecting Ha Noi to the northern province of Vinh Phuc was officially opened to traffic yesterday.
The first section of the expressway project cost VND2.5 trillion (US$120 million), and was constructed by Posco E&C – a South Korean contractor.
The road has four lanes, allowing vehicles to travel at a maximum of 80kph.
It is expected to reduce pressure on National Highways 2, 32 and 70, and shorten travel times between Ha Noi and Vinh Phuc.
The 245-km expressway project is part of the Kunming – Hai Phong corridor under a co-operation programme among the Mekong Sub-region countries of Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China.
Construction of the expressway started in July 2009 with a total investment of nearly $1.25 billion for the first phase, mostly from loans provided by the Asian Development Bank.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai said the expressway would play a key role in economic development in Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai, as well as other Greater Mekong Sub-region nations.
Hai has ordered the Ministry of Transport to work with local People's Committees to speed up the implementation of the project so that it can be put into operation in 2014 as scheduled.
"When the expressway is open, it will take only three and a half hours for vehicles to travel from Ha Noi to Lao Cai, instead of the eight hours it takes at the moment," Hai said.
Vehicles would also save fuel and time, he added.
Mai Anh Tuan, General Director of the Viet Nam Expressway Corporation, said that about 75 per cent of the whole project had already been completed.
The corporation had been working hard to ensure the expressway opened to the public in June 2014, Tuan said. — VNS