National Highway 217 running through central Thanh Hoa province will be upgraded and expanded under the second Northern Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Transport Network Improvement Project.

A ceremony to kick-start the project was jointly held by the Ministry of Transport, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Thanh Hoa provincial People’s Committee in Cam Phong commune, Cam Thuy district on June 25.

The project is part of the GMS Economic Cooperation Programme ratified by leaders of regional countries at the GMS Summit in July 2005.

The 88.2km national highway will be upgraded at a total cost of 97.4 million USD with 75 million USD coming from the ADB. The improvements will be completed in 2016.

As part of the northeastern corridor, the national highway is seen as a strategic route that links Laos’ northeastern region with the north of Vietnam and Nghi Son seaport in Thanh Hoa province.

The upgrades will help improve local people’s access to social services and create good links with Thailand and Laos.-VNA