A 600-km section of Ho Chi Minh Highway crossing the Central Highlands, scheduled to complete in 2016, is expected to fuel the comprehensive socio-economic development of the regional province of Gia Lai.

Gia Lai lies in the region’s intersection connecting with the central coastal area where there are six economic zones, 54 industrial parks and 13 seaports.

Contractors have been speeding up construction of the section, which has a total investment of 16 trillion VND (752 million USD).

Once finished, the section will stretch over 97 km through five districts and Pleiku city of Gia Lai . It will connect with National Highway 19, Highway 25, and trans-provincial roads, creating a smooth transport system between the locality and other regions.

To benefit most from the new road will be the province’s processing sector.

Gia Lai holds huge advantages of industrial crop farming as it owns more than 100,000 ha grown with rubber trees, nearly 80,000 ha with coffee plants, and about 10,000 ha producing pepper.

Products from these industrial plants as well as other farm and forestry items will see their values rising because the highway will fix the existing poor transport system, which has for long lowered prices of these products.

The road will become an advantage of Gia Lai in luring more foreign and domestic investments for exploiting its position in the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia development triangle.

In 2013 and the first half of 2014, the province granted investment licences to and approved 149 projects valued tens of trillion VND. Notably, 52 projects with a total investment of 5.85 trillion VND (274.95 million USD) have become operational, while other 57 projects totalling 12 trillion VND (564 million USD) are carrying out construction work.

The local tourism sector has pinned much hope on the future road to strengthen its connectivity wit neighbouring localities to fully tap a treasure of natural resources and landscape held by the locality and the entire Central Highlands, such as T’nung lake, Phu Cuong waterfall, Kon Ka Kinh National Park, Mang Den, and Yok Don National Park.

Ho Chi Minh Highway is the largest-ever project in Vietnam as it runs across the country with a total length of 3,183 km. As many as 2,000 km of the road were opened to traffic. It is expected to become fully operating before 2020.-VNA