Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan worth 188 million USD to improve and upgrade 198 km of roads in Vietnam’s mountainous northwest region.

The improved roads, which will connect several remote areas of the region to the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, will boost the area’s trade with two neighbouring countries, Laos and China.

With climate-resilient features such as slope protection in areas prone to landslides and rockfalls, the project will provide the area’s population reliable access to basic social services, such as education, health care, job training, and emergency disaster relief.

According to ADB, Vietnam’s northwest region, which includes the provinces of Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Son La, and Yen Bai, has not benefited from the backbone of the northwest region’s road network, the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, which is part of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Kunming-Hai Phong Transport Corridor that connects the Hanoi Region to China’s Yunnan province. That is because the national and provincial road networks are largely incomplete, and the condition of the existing roads is generally poor. The existing roads are also prone to natural disasters, such as flash flood, landslides.

The project aims to help the region overcome those difficulties by ensuring high standards for road construction and addressing the risks posed by climate change. It will also run an awareness campaign for road safety to help the residents in these disadvantaged areas deal with increased traffic speed and volume on the expressway.

“The project will help the Government of Vietnam develop the region by enhancing agriculture, tourism, and border trade,” ADB Principal Transport Specialist Witoon Tawisook in said in the bank’s news release. “It will also connect the underdeveloped region with the economic centres of the country, attract private investment, and create jobs for the local population.” - VNA