Cuu Long ( Mekong ) River Delta plans to replace all footbridges in the region as part of its socio-economic development plan.

Over the past decade, the region has replaced more than 4,000 footbridges made of bamboo and wood, and built more than 11,000 new bridges.

The 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta have an interlacing system of canals and rivers with thousands of temporary bridges built to connect the region.

Poor transport infrastructure hinders travelling, student trips to schools, and circulation of goods in the region.

The increase in transport costs has resulted in losses for farmers who have to pay 15 percent of their income for travelling and goods transport, according to Nguyen Van Son, an expert from the Mekong Delta Institute for Research and Development.

The regional provinces have generated financial support from organisations and individuals to implement the programme to replace footbridges with concrete ones.

Ben Tre, among the leading provinces in this programme, has replaced more than 2,600 bridges in the past 12 years with most of the financial sources coming from local residents.

The province has spent 1.3 trillion VND (62 million USD) to build bridges and upgrade roads in rural areas.

Since 2006, the An Giang government and its residents have built nearly 500 bridges while Ca Mau built more than 1,580 bridges in 2009 and 2010 in its rural areas, with a total investment of 350 billion VND (16.6 million USD) from civil society.

Last month, a transportation development plan until 2020 for the Mekong Delta was approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. It targets building a comprehensive interprovincial transport system to boost the region's economic development.

The plan calls for building access roads to communes and paving district roads with concrete in all Delta provinces.-VNA