Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vietnam to build highway linking Hanoi to major port city of Haiphong

HANOI, Vietnam (AP): Vietnam will build a $1.5 billion (euro1 billion) highway linking Hanoi to the major northern port city of Haiphong, state media reported Thursday.

Construction of the 105.5 kilometer (66-mile) highway is scheduled to start in May and be completed in 2011, the Tien Phong (Pioneer) newspaper said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has appointed the state-owned Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Financial Investment Corp., or Vidifi, to construct the highway and raise financing for it, the paper said.

The six-lane highway will be built to international standards and will cost 24 trillion dong (US$1.5 billion, euro1.02 billion), it said.

The company will operate the highway as a toll road for 35 years before turning it over to the government.

Company executives were not available for comment Thursday.

The newspaper quoted Vidifi general director Dao Van Chien as saying some 7,700 people will be relocated to clear land for the project.

Vietnam is scrambling to build new roads, bridges and power plants to ensure that its infrastructure keeps pace with the country's fast-growing economy, which has expanded more than 8 percent annually in recent years.