Clearing the sites for the expansion of National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Highway in Central Highland region must be finished by April to ensure the projects are completed in 2016.

Deputy PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc made this order on December 11 at an online meeting with officials of 22 provinces the roads run through, along with ministries and agencies, including Electricity of Vietnam and military telecom company Viettel.

Considered the most important highway in Vietnam, National Highway 1 runs through half of the provinces and cities in the country, linking Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho.

The work to expand the nearly 1,400 km-long highway from central Thanh Hoa province to Mekong Delta Can Tho city would create four lanes for motor vehicles and two lanes for motorbikes.

Officials noted that about 25,000 households would have their land and houses acquired to make room for the road expansion, including 7,500 households relocated to resettlement areas.

About 7.35 trillion VND (348.2 million USD) is needed for the site clearance, compensation and resettlement. So far, nearly 3 trillion VND (142.1 million USD) has been disbursed to localities.

Meanwhile, the 663-km Ho Chi Minh Highway Project running through the Central Highland region requires 220ha of land and the resettlement of 620 households. Estimated funding for site clearance is 1.3 trillion VND (61.6 million USD), though until now only 82 billion VND (3.8 million USD) has been disbursed.

According to the Ministry of Transport, site clearance was till a major difficulty in both projects. For example, the removal of infrastructure, including electricity or telecommunication facilities, was moving slowly and failing to follow plans.

Also, some localities, including the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, could not raise enough money to compensate households or build resettlement areas.

When asking localities and agencies to take drastic measures to speed up site clearance, Deputy PM Phuc noted that the localities should listen to local residents and negotiate further with them to harmonise benefits to both the citizens and State.

Also, agencies were asked to seek solutions to address difficulties, such as in identifying land origins, to properly deliver compensation for households who had their land acquired or sought funding.-VNA