Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has urged Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring Dong Nai Province to speed up work on the Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and metro line No 1.

At a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, he said they are of vital importance, so the Government has kept funding them despite the economic turmoil.

He called on Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai authorities to create the most favourable conditions to complete them as soon as possible while also ensuring quality.

He praised the efforts made by Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai to make clear and transparent plans for land acquisition and compensation for the Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway.

Construction of the 55-km expressway, which will connect Ho Chi Minh City with the planned Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai Province , began in October 2009.

It will have four lanes in the first phase scheduled for completion this year.

In the second phase, it will be widened to have eight lanes in the 24-km section from An Phu in District 2 to Long Thanh, and six lanes in the remaining section to Dau Giay.

The expressway will cost 932.4 million USD in the first phase, for which the Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide a loan of over 516.5 million USD and the Asian Development Bank, 410.2 million USD.

During a trip to a construction site in Long Thanh District on the same day, Hai told concerned agencies and authorities to clear obstacles holding up site clearance, including paying compensation to households whose lands were acquired.

As for the 19.7-km metro line No 1, Hai appreciated the city's efforts to tackle difficulties and hold a groundbreaking ceremony on August 28.

Preparatory work is complete after an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract to build the overhead section of the first metro route was signed in May.

The first 2.6-km stretch, from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Ba Son Shipyard in District 1, will be underground.

Then it will go overhead from Ba Son Shipyard, passing through Van Thanh and Tan Cang in Binh Thanh District and along the Ha Noi Highway to Suoi Tien in District 9. There will be 11 stations.

The 19.7-km line is divided into three packages, the third being for installation of machinery and electrical devices and maintenance.

The line will cost 47 trillion VND (2.25 billion USD), with 88.4 percent coming from Japanese official development assistance and the rest coming from the city budget.

Construction is expected to be finished by 2017 and the line will become operational in 2018.-VNA