» » ADB okays US$1.1 billion for subway, freeway projects

VNREThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$1.1 billion financial package for two major transportation projects in Vietnam, comprising a metro route in HCMC and a freeway linking Long An and Dong Nai Province.

The regional lender will provide US$540 million towards a US$1.4-billion project to construct a second mass rapid transit line in HCMC, and US$636 million for a US$1.6 billion project to construct a modern expressway.

The bank’s financial support for the 11.3-kilometer metro line accounts for nearly 40% of the total cost estimate for the project. Other financiers of the project are the German development bank KfW and the European Investment Bank with US$313 million and US$195 million respectively, while Vietnam contributes the balance of US$326.5 million.

This metro line stretches from Ben Thanh in downtown HCMC, skirting Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Tham Luong. A 9.3-kilometer section of the line will run underground, while two kilometers will be elevated and transition track.

The Ben Thanh-Tham Luong section is part of Metro Line No.2 that starts from Tay Ninh bus station and crosses the Saigon River to Thu Thiem new urban area.

Approximately 213,000 passenger loadings per day are expected during the first year of operation in 2017, rising to 300,000 per day by 2020 and over 700,000 daily by 2035. The metro will reduce travel time along the corridor by 20% from 2010 levels.

Work has started on this line, with the first components being constructed at the Tham Luong terminal in District 12, comprising the surrounding wall and ground leveling.

The ADB-backed section will be constructed in coordination with other metro lines being developed in HCMC, the first of which has been significantly funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The other credit of US$636 million approved by ADB’s Board of Directors will go to the 57-kilometer expressway between Ben Luc in Long An Province and Long Thanh in Dong Nai Province. The modern expressway will further alleviate traffic congestion in the center of HCMC, while facilitating transport of goods between the major ports of the city.

When the expressway is fully opened to traffic in 2017, vehicles will be able to bypass the city center, reducing east-west travel time by 80%.

The Japanese government is expected to provide US$635 million for the US$1.6 billion Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway project, while the Vietnamese government provides the remaining US$337 million.

Reported by Thu Nguyet | The Saigon Times

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