The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will grant a 410 million USD loan to Vietnam to build sections of a second arterial highway connecting Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta and southern coastal regions.

The transport link will serve as a foundation to lever the economic and industrial development of Vietnam’s western provinces in the Mekong Delta, said Transport Specialist for ADB’s Southeast Asia Department Rustam Ishenaliev.

The Central Mekong Delta Region Connectivity Project will construct a section of the second southern highway, comprising two cabled-stayed bridges with a combined length of 5 km and associated assess and interconnecting roads totaling 26 km. The road will run on the boundaries of An Giang, Can Tho and Dong Thap provinces to the west of the Mekong Delta Region.

The two bridges and the interconnecting road will cut travel time between Ho Chi Minh City and Long Xuyen from 3.5 to 2.5 hours.

Besides these transport benefits, the project is expected to support more inclusive development, improve access to basic social and health services, increase national food security and facilitate the private sector investment in the region.

The highway is expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2017, benefiting 170,000 road users daily and will help generate 400,000 new jobs in construction and manufacturing sectors.

The project will incorporate design innovations to protect infrastructure from the impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta, including more frequent severe weather events, violent seasonal flooding and sea level rise.

The project is estimated to cost 860 million USD, which 410 million USD from the ADB.The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) will provide 160 million AUD for the Cao Lanh bridge and interconnecting road while and 260 million USD from the Export-Import Bank of Korea will be used to construct the Van Cong bridge and its association road works.

The Vietnamese Government will contribute 56 million USD towards the cost of the project.-VNA