Very long road: Vietnam set for major push on 2,100-km North-South Expressway

It is billed as Vietnam’s transport "backbone": a 2,109km North-South expressway running from the northern mountains of Lang Son province to the southernmost delta province of Ca Mau.

This week the country’s transport ministry announced that it is gearing up to get it built.

Some 70% of the land earmarked for the next phase has been readied for construction, and 31 of the 113 new towns that will be built to house displaced people have received construction permits.

The other 82 sites are presently being surveyed and designed.

A major phase – the $5bn, 654km Eastern North-South Expressway – has been split into 11 sub-projects.

A length of 454km of these are now cleared for work, which is expected to begin in August.

According to the original plan, three of the projects were to be funded by the state, and the remaining eight procured as public-private partnerships. These schemes were tendered last August, with the aim of attracting some $3bn of international finance.

However, these are now likely to be converted into public projects, according to the ministry, which did not give a reason for the switch.  

Construction of the first section in the south of the country, covering 98km from Cam Lo to La Son, started in September 2019, with opening targeted for 2021.

Image: Route 1: the main trans-Vietnam artery (Bình Giang/Public domain)

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