A 20km section of the Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway will open to traffic later this month, the investor of the project has said.

Mai Tuan Anh, director of the Vietnam Expressway Company (VEC), said the section of the expressway from the Eastern Ring Road (also called the Second Ring road) in Ho Chi Minh City's District 9 to National Highway N°51 in neighbouring Dong Nai province is scheduled to begin temporary operation on December 30.

This section will shorten the distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Long Thanh from 45km to 22km, and from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau from 120km to 95km.

The Ho Chi Minh City - Dau Giay - Long Thanh expressway is 55km long, connecting the southern hub with National Highway N°51, Long Thanh International Airport and National Highway N°1A.

It requires total investment of about 20.630 trillion VND (nearly 978.3 million USD). Capital will come from loans provided by the Asian Development Bank, official development assistance (ODA) loans from the Japanese Government and counter-capital from the Vietnamese Government.

Anh said the new expressway would help ease traffic congestion on National Highway 1A in the Southern Economic Zone covering Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa and Vung Tau.

According to VEC, during the temporary operation, vehicles allowed to travel include motorbikes operating at under 70km per hour, three-wheeled taxis, tractors, vehicles carrying toxic and inflammable goods, trailers, tank trucks, 10-tonne and over trucks, and 20 - 40 feet-long trucks.

They will be allowed to travel between 60 and 100 km per hour on the expressway during the time, said Anh.

He said a toll-collection station would be placed at km11 in Long Phuoc Commune in Ho Chi Minh City's District 9.

During the first stage, the new expressway will have eight toll lanes (four on each side) and be enlarged to 14 lanes when completed.

Vehicles under 12 seats and buses under two tonnes will have to pay 2,000 VND per km. Twelve- to 30-seat and two- to four-tonne trucks will pay 3,000 VND per km, and 31-seat buses and four- to10-tonne vehicles 4,000 VND per km.

The builders of the expressway are a consortium of the Construction Engineering Co. N°6 (Cienco 6), Construction Engineering Co, N°8 (Cienco 8) and the Korean construction and engineering company POSCO.

The Vietnam Expressway Company is the investor of the Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Project.-VNA