|A toll gate on the Noi Bai-Lao Cai highway that runs through Ha Noi's Soc Son Commune. The Ministry of Transport has urged Lao Cai People's Committee to co-ordinate the completion of the highway linking Noi Bai airport with Lao Cai and the resort town of Sa Pa. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung.
HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Transport has urged Lao Cai People's Committee to co-ordinate the completion of the highway linking Noi Bai airport with Lao Cai and the resort town of Sa Pa.
Minister of Transport, Dinh La Thang said the route was the key route for socio-economic development of the province.
However, he admitted that mountainous parts of the highway would remain perilous unless safety standards were improved.
He was referring to the tragic deaths of 12 people who toppled into a ravine on a sleeper bus on Monday evening in the province's Bat Xat District. Another 40 passengers were injured, many seriously.
The accident occurred when the driver of the bus, owned by Sao Viet (Viet Star) Company, lost control of the vehicle on the way from Sa Pa to Lao Cai City..
Thang said the 30km route was "really dangerous" if traffic density was high. This was because of the number of large tourist buses plying the route between the two localities.
He has asked provincial authorities to produce a detailed design for the road and send it to the ministry for approval.
Thang said the new highway would shorten travel time between Ha Noi and Sa Pa, boosting tourism while assuring the safety of passengers.
Bui Dinh Tuan, director of the Viet Nam Expressway Corporation's highway operation and maintenance company, has announced the toll fees for vehicles travelling between Ha Noi and Lao Cai.
Tuan said trucks would pay VND1.2 million (US$56.6) and cars with less than seven seats VND300,000 ($14.1).
He added that the new road would shorten the road trip to just three hours, four hours less than the present seven hours.(The trip by train to Lao Cai takes at least nine hours. The connecting bus to Sa Pa takes another hour or so).
Tuan also said that toll tickets for the 245km journey would soon be printed. They would be sold by vendors at toll gates until an automatic electric system was installed.
He added that rest stops would be completed along the route by the end of this year, together with railings and traffic signals.
The Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway will pass through five provinces and cities, Ha Noi, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai.
The project is backed by US$1.3 billion in loans from the Asian Development Bank. — VNS