An elevated section of the city’s first metro line along Hanoi Highway in HCM City’s district 2. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City has approved the extension of the city’s first metro route, which links Ben Thanh Market with Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9, to the neighbouring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

The metro line will extend to Dong Nai province’s Bien Hoa city and Binh Duong province’s Di An town as proposed by Japanese consultant joint-venture Nippon Koei – Tokyu.

The cost of extending the line will be 21.23 trillion VND (nearly 950 million USD), including 2.32 trillion VND (103 million USD) for the section from the Suoi Tien Station to Binh Duong Station.

Tran Thanh Liem, Chairman of the Binh Duong People’s Committee, said the extension would create favourable conditions urban development and public transportation.

Along with preparations for the metro extension, Binh Duong has also earmarked land along the planned metro line for new urban areas under the TOD (transit-oriented development) mode.

The provincial Dong Nai and Binh Duong People’s Committees have also agreed to the project, which is in line with the city’s transport development plan to 2020, approved by the Prime Minister.

The extended metro line will ease travel in the two provinces and HCM City, attract more passengers and enhance urban development along the route, reducing traffic overload in the northeastern part of HCM City.

HCM City will work with agencies in the two provinces to develop the project and put it into operation on schedule.

HCM City’s metro route No 1 connects Ben Thanh Terminal in district 1 with Suoi Tien Terminal in district 9.

The metro line will have 19.7km of track, of which 2.6km will be underground (with three stations) and over 17km above ground (with 11 stations).

Construction began in August, 2012, with the line expected to open in 2020.

After years of delays due to numerous adjustments, the cost of the project has risen to more than 47 trillion VND (2.49 billion USD), according to the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways.-VNA