Monday, November 10, 2008

Vietnam Needs US$48 Billion To Develop Highways

HANOI, Nov 7 (Bernama) -- Vietnam will need some US$48 billion for the construction of 20 highways with a total length of over 5,870km, according to a proposed scheme to develop the country's highways network between now and 2020 and beyond, which have been scrutinised by the Government.

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported Friday that at a seminar held here on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said developing the domestic road network, including the highways, is considered a matter of great importance for Vietnam to create impetus for socio-economic development.

Under the master plan, the trans-national express system will include two routes, the systems in the north and south will have six routes each, the system in the central and central highlands region will have three routes and there will be three routes in the beltways in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The target of the plan, formulated by the Ministry of Transport, is to form a network of modern national highways linking key economic hubs, main border gates and important traffic points that is able to coordinate with other modern modes of transport.

The plan is expected to help tackle the issue of traffic jams, as well as effectively reducing traffic accidents, initially in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the plan, highway routes connecting key economic zones, major cities and their beltways, and big sea ports will be prioritised for investment.

Vietnam now has 18 highway projects in the pipeline, including six under construction or to begin construction next year. Many of these projects have received funding from international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the German Reconstruction and Development Bank (KFW) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

At the seminar, Deputy PM Hung called on international donors to give more assistance, both financial and technological, in order to develop Vietnam's traffic network to meet increasing demand, reduce traffic accidents and minimise the impact on the environment.

The World Bank (WB) Acting Country Director in Vietnam Martin Rama pledged to increase levels of assistance to Vietnam in developing its transport infrastructure and to mobilise all available investment resources.

Martin Rama said the WB is ready to partner Vietnam in this area, financing and sharing experiences related to forming sustainable management and financial mechanisms.

According to a recent World Bank survey, Vietnam's rapid economic growth associated with a high-speed urbanisation process and an increasing number of transport facilities, has put unrelenting pressure on the existing road systems.

In addition, poor infrastructure and the high rate of traffic accidents are additional factors influencing Vietnam in its decision to build new roads.

-- BERNAMA