||The project will construct a 57.1 kilometer (km) expressway between Ben Luc and Long Thanh in the south of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), which is a short link of the GMS Southern Economic Corridor (SEC). The executing agency is the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), which was established under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to develop the national expressway network in Viet Nam. The project expressway consists of a southern link to the planned HCMC Third Ring Road and an access link to the planned Bien Hoa Vung Tau expressway (see map). The starting point of the project expressway is an interchange with the existing HCMC-Trung Luong expressway, and the ending point is an interchange with the planned Bien Hoa Vung Tau expressway. The project expressway will be constructed with four lanes and the government will expand the width to eight lanes when traffic demand reaches capacity. The following six interchanges (ICs) are planned under the project: (i) IC1 with HCMC Trung Luong expressway; (ii) IC2 with National Highway 1A; (iii) IC3 with National Highway 50; (iv) IC4 with Nguyen Van Tao; (v) IC6 with Phuoc An; and (vi) IC7 with National Highway 51. IC5 with HCMC Third Ring Road and IC8 with Bien Hoa Vung Tau expressway will be constructed after the completion of the Third Ring Road and the Bien Hoa Vung Tau expressway. The project expressway is divided into a western section (19.8 km), a middle section (11.0 km), and an eastern section (26.3 km). For the expressway construction, ADB will finance the western and eastern sections, and a potential cofinancier (Japan) is expected to finance the middle section. The project expressway will be tolled and operated by VEC. VEC established a subsidiary company to operate and maintain the expressways through a public -private partnership concession arrangement.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
In the south of HCMC, east west traffic is restricted due to the lack of river crossing facilities, forcing vehicles into the center of HCMC. A substantial shift has occurred from motorcycles to passenger cars in the project area, further exacerbating traffic congestion. Construction of HCMC ring roads to establish connectivity with neighboring cities through expressway links is a high priority of the government. In this regard, the project will facilitate east west traffic south of HCMC, thereby diverting through-traffic and reducing traffic congestion in the center of HCMC. Through construction of the project expressway, the connectivity of cities and towns around HCMC will also be improved, and transport costs and travel times for the movement of passengers and goods in and around HCMC will be reduced. Moreover, the project expressway is identified as a part of the national north south expressway that links into the Mekong Delta, which is the rice basket of Asia. It will be used as a freight route to transport food produced in the Mekong Delta to the rest of the country and overseas via land and maritime transport.
Furthermore, the project will strengthen subregional connectivity and international trade with the neighboring country of Cambodia. Under the Cross-Border Transport Agreement between Viet Nam and Cambodia, Viet Nam agreed to accept entry of 150 Cambodian commercial vehicles into Viet Nam, and vice-versa. For commercial vehicles in Cambodia, improved access to ports in HCMC will reduce freight cost and travel time, especially for cargoes to and from the People's Republic of China, Japan, and the United States. The transport of goods between Cambodia and HCMC through the GMS SEC is constrained by the absence of a Mekong River bridge at Neak Laong in Cambodia, as well as the heavy traffic congestion around HCMC. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is implementing the Mekong River bridge project at Neak Laong, and the project expressway will provide an express route to and from the ports in HCMC. Therefore, the project expressway, coupled with the JICA-financed bridge project, is expected to improve transport efficiency in the GMS SEC and expand international trade between the two countries.
ADB's country strategy and program (CSP) 2007- 2010 for Viet Nam aims to help the Government of Viet Nam reduce poverty, in accordance with the government's socioeconomic development plan, through (i) pro-poor business-led economic growth, (ii) social equity and balanced development, and (iii) environmental protection and management. The CSP promotes good governance and places a high priority on contributing to regional cooperation. In light of the expected strong expansion of the Vietnamese economy, the CSP recognizes the need for accelerated improvements in infrastructure, particularly transportation and energy, and in human resource development.