Mekong residents await highway for easier traveling

Nearly 2,500 kilometer highway has been built across the country, the Mekong delta has the 40-kilometer HCMC - Trung Luong highway to meet the traveling demand of nearly 30 million people and transport agro-products. Residents in Mekong delta await an expressway connecting the region with Ho Chi Minh City to reduce travel time and contribute to socio-economic growth.

Mekong residents await highway for easier traveling

So far,  Mekong's traffic infrastructure is the weakness of the region in spite of more bridges and roads being built. The national highway No.1 is still the only way connecting the region and other provinces.
Poor infrastructure deters investors from pouring money in the region. Currently, Trung Luong - Can Tho faces heavy traffic in the country with over 50,000 vehicles per day and traffic is snarled up all the time. It takes 3.5 - 4 hours to travel in a 150 kilometer path from the Mekong delta City of Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City.
Therefore, demand for a new expressway connecting Can Tho and HCMC is becoming urgent.
Authorities in Mekong delta and residents have petitioned the government to solve infrastructure problem because most of agro-products of the Mekong delta are exported through ports in HCMC and connection will facilitate transportation of commodities and develop economy between the two cities in the South.
Trung Luong - My Thuan highway project with the length of 51.1 kilometer in Tien Giang province was set up. The compensation work of nearly 3,000 households costs up to VND1,300 billion ($55.7 million).
However, there have been some hiccups along way to carry out the project. Former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung pressed button to start the construction work of Trung Luong – My THuan project in 2009 and as per plan, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) will provide money for the project which is scheduled to finish in 2012. However,  BIDV’s cancellation of funding for the project caused the work being delayed.
In February, 2015, after several meeting on the project, the Ministry of Transport decided to call for investment from five investors in an effort to complete the project in 2020. In fact, it is impossible to finish as scheduled as it moves on a slow pace for due to site clearance woe.
According to People’s Committee in Tien Giang Province, people are not satisfied with clearance compensation because the land price in the market has skyrocketed; moreover, the upgrade of the national highway No. 30 is undertaken at the same time with the highway; so the province has difficulties in funding for both.
Deputy Chief of the Cuu Long Corporation for Investment Development and Project Management of Infrastructure Duong Ho Minh said that just 15 percent of construction work has been done. Investors have signed credit contracts with banks to fund for the project; hence, in the next time, the work will go smoothly.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman of Tien Giang People’s Committee Pham Anh Tuan said that the province is making concerted efforts in site clearance in this month. Now, 39 households refuse to move out of there because they disagreed with clearance compensation.
Another project is My Thuan – Can Tho highway, with the length of 23.6 kilometer through Vinh Long and Dong Thap provinces which is planned to start in early 2019. It will be built under build-operate-transfer (BOT) with an estimate cost of VND5,370 billion.

By staff writers - Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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