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Vietnam Hopes to Finish 2,000-Kilometer North-South Expressway in 2025

At a meeting on Wednesday, Vietnam's central government advised infrastructure officials to commence work on major sections of the North-South Expressway this year in order for the project to be "essentially" completed by 2021.

Eleven sections in the first phase of the 2,000-kilometer expressway, which will reach southernmost province Ca Mau when completed, will span from Nam Dinh Province to Vinh Long Province over a distance of 654 kilometers, reports VnExpress. The whole project, however, might only be completed in 2025.

On November 14, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The made a statement at the ongoing National Assembly session that all eight BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) sub-projects included in the first phase will be put out to tender without designating contractors, according to VietnamNet.

While the majority at the assembly supported the commencement of the highway project, some deputies raised concerns, including the mobilization of capital, under-utilization of the project’s full potential and the anount of land clearance needed.

Certain sections of the expressway have been completed and are already in use. The automatic collection of toll fees charged at BOT toll stations helps ensure convenience and transparency, according to the news source.

However, VietnamNet reports that complaints have surfaced regarding steep toll fees, and some drivers have resorted to paying the fees in small denomination notes in protest.

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung commented last July at a government meeting that it was necessary to finish at least 2,000 kilometers of highways in Vietnam by 2020, citing such infrastructure’s vital role in the country’s development.

UPDATE: an earlier version of the headline suggested that the expressway is to be finished by the year 2021. This has been changed to 2025.

[Photo via Zing]

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