369 million USD for upgrading five highways linking with Laos hinh anh 1The Ministry of Transport proposes investing over 8.5 trillion VND (369 million USD) in upgrading five highways linked with Laos (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Transport has sent a document to the Ministries of Planning and Investment, and Finance proposing the upgrades to five national highways connecting with Laos

The projects will use a World Bank (WB) loan of more than 8.5 trillion VND (369 million USD). They aim to improve travelling capacity, increase connectivity along the East-West corridor, and promote trade with Laos and the northeast region of Thailand.

The project of upgrading 38.6km of National Highway No. 279, starting from Dien Bien Phu city on the northern border passing Tay Trang Border Gate to milestone No. 113 in Dien Bien district of Dien Bien province, will have a total investment of 1.5 trillion VND (64.8 million USD). Once upgraded, the road will allow vehicles to run at a speed of 60-80km per hour.

The section of National Highway 12C passing the Vung Ang-Ho Chi Minh Road in the central provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh will need an investment of more than 2 trillion VND (85.4 million USD). The section, which has a total length of 89.3km, will enable vehicles to travel at a speed of 60-80km per hour. It starts from Km0+000 in Vung Ang Port area in Ky Anh town, Ha Tinh province and ends at Km98+100 in Minh Hoa district of Quang Binh province.

The project of upgrading 59km of National Highway 217 in the central province of Thanh Hoa will need 2.15 trillion VND (91.8 million USD). Its starting point is the intersection with National Highway 1 in Ha Trung township, Ha Trung district and the ending point is the intersection with Ho Chi Minh Road in Phong Son township, Cam Thuy district. The road has a designed speed of 80km per hour.

Meanwhile, the renovation of 38km of National Highway 12A in Quang Binh and 20km from National Highway 1 to Cam Lo-La Son Expressway in Quang Tri province will cost 1.43 trillion VND (61.1 million USD) and 1.38 trillion VND (59.2 million USD), respectively.

According to the ministry, of the total investment of 369 million USD, 292 million USD will come from the World Bank. It will be used for construction, equipment, technical design consultancy, construction design consultancy and construction supervision consulting.

Nearly 77 million USD in domestic reciprocal capital will be spent on project management, construction investment consulting, site clearance, taxes, fees and other expenses.

The project implementation time set by the Ministry of Transport is from 2024 to 2028, after the funding agreement comes into effect.

Currently, the ministry is working with the WB to seek more non-refundable aid to increase incentive value and feasibility.

According to the ministry, the renovation and upgrading of the national highways aim to improve navigation capacity and transportation needs while shortening the distance between border gates and seaports. This will help reduce transport costs, environmental pollution and traffic accidents and serve the socio-economic development of the areas.

Vietnam and Laos share more than 2,300km of border, which runs through 10 cities and provinces on each side. There are nine international border gates, six main gates, 18 auxiliary gates and many trails, along with nine border gate economic zones.

Two-way trade reached 1.37 billion USD in 2021, a year-on-year rise of 33.32%, the highest over the past decade. Laos is Vietnam’s seventh biggest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The two countries are striving to raise two-way trade to 2 billion USD.

Vietnam is among the three biggest investors in Laos. Bilateral trade reached 1.37 billion USD in 2021, a year-on-year rise of 33.32%, the highest over the past decade.

Vietnam’s exports to Laos reached 594.7 million USD, up 4%, while imports hit 778.2 million USD, up 69.8%./.