Hanoi has plans to carry out 121 projects to improve its urban face during 2011-15, which require an estimated investment of over 2.5 trillion VND (120 billion USD), the municipal People's Committee reported on May 30.

Of the investment, 1.56 trillion VND (74 billion USD) is from the city's budget, 440 billion VND (20 million USD) is from budget of districts and the rest will be mobilised from other sectors.

The list of projects includes nine projects on planning, 12 on burying cable and electrical wires, 60 on improving street infrastructure, nine on upgrading parks and flower gardens, and 15 on lighting systems.

The city also plans to install 120 new public toilets and allocate 10,000 waste bins along the streets. Districts also propose about 90 projects to repair and upgrade infrastructure in their individual localities.

The city is asking involved authorities to take comprehensive measures to see projects progress as planned. For these infrastructure improvement projects, the city requires constructors to ensure the quality of their work for traffic congestion and accident reduction. Construction waste also needs to be collected and carried out of the city's inner areas quickly to limit the effects on traffic and environment.

Vu Thi Vinh, chief of the Vietnam Association of Cities' administrative office, said that improving the urban face is a necessary part of the city's development process. Similar recent projects have already made the city look better. The projects of burying cable and electric wire not only made the streets tidier and clearer but also ensured better safety for people.

However, she said, public awareness contribute a lot to the success of such projects as the public could help preserve the work. She gave an example of one project to improve the pavement. Huge investments were poured in but because of low public awareness, people drove on the pavements reserved for businesses or parking and damaged the work.

"It is necessary to raise public awareness and call on people to join the beautification of the city," she said.

In efforts to curb the city's traffic problem, Transport Department proposed a 5-year plan with an investment of 145 trillion VND (7 billion USD), said the department director Nguyen Quoc Hung. Besides construction projects on national roads, bridges and overpasses for pedestrians, the city would build new 50 parking lots in inner areas.

The city also recommends that the Government allow some special mechanisms for transport projects, Hung said, adding that every investor of projects carried out in the city should contribute money financing to transport projects.

The city will also add 12 bus routes, raising the number of bus routes to 77, to expectedly serve 777 million passengers per year.

City leaders urged sectors and departments to take drastic measures to reduce the number of private vehicles. This, they said, was a key to solve traffic congestion in the city.

Now, Hanoi has a population of 6.9 million people not including non-resident guests. Each month, about new 30,000 motorbikes and 3,000 cars are registered to operate in the city./.