MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend $410 million to Viet Nam to build sections of a second arterial highway connecting Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta and southern coastal regions.
"Viet Nam has a rapidly growing export-led economy, and the Mekong Delta is a key economic driver which produces more than 60% of Viet Nam's agricultural and fishery outputs and the third largest industrial center," said Rustam Ishenaliev, Transport Specialist in ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "This transport link will help open up Viet Nam's western provinces in the Mekong River Delta and support its economic and industrial development."
The Central Mekong Delta Region Connectivity Project will build a section of the Second Southern Highway, comprising two cable-stayed bridges with a combined length of 5 km and associated access and interconnecting roads totaling 26 km. The road will run on the boundaries of An Giang, Can Tho, and Dong Thap provinces to the west of the Mekong Delta Region.
The two bridges and the interconnecting road should cut travel time between Ho Chi Minh City and Long Xuyen from 3.5 hours to 2.5 hours. Travel time from the Cao Lanh ferry to the Vam Cong ferry should fall from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes, while the travel distance from Cao Lanh to Long Xuyen will be reduced from 35.4 km to 29 km. The highway is expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2017.
In addition to these transport benefits, the project is expected to support 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 will help 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, including more frequent severe weather events, violent seasonal flooding and sea level rise.
The project is expected to cost $860 million, with $410 million financed from ADB's Ordinary Capital Resources, and AUD$160 million grant financing from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) for the Cao Lanh bridge and interconnecting road. Parallel financing of $260 million from the Export-Import Bank of Korea will be used to construct the Vam Cong Bridge and its associated road works. The Government of Viet Nam will contribute $56 million towards the cost of the project.