HCM City authorities on July 10 opened a bridge and also broke ground for a flyover on the Hanoi Highway which connects the city with southeastern provinces.

The Rach Chiec Bridge over the eponymous river connecting districts 2 and 9 was 16 months in the construction.

It actually consists of three separate bridges with a total of 10 lanes and two pedestrian walkways. The left and right spans were opened last October, while the one in the middle was inaugurated on July 10.

The six-lane central span is meant for automobiles and larger vehicles.

The bridge is 46.1m wide and of 735m long, and has a clearance of six metres to allow boats to pass underneath.

It cost 1.01 trillion VND (48.3 million USD) and was built by budget from city and the CII, a city-based infrastructure investment company.

"The highway that includes the bridge is a very important route connecting the city and neighbouring provinces in the southeast," said Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of the Municipal People's Committee.

"Thus the opening of the bridge will provide an impetus for development."

Closer to the bridge on the highway, ground was broken for construction of the Thu Duc Flyover, which will allow vehicles travelling to Dong Nai to bypass the Thu Duc intersection.

The intersection, which is amid a cluster of universities, industrial parks, and export processing zones, is often the scene of severe congestion during rush hours.

The four-lane flyover will be 16m wide and 570m long.

Nguyen Huu Tin, Deputy Chairman of the People's Committee, said the city is determined to complete the construction by February to ease traffic ahead of Tet (the Lunar New Year).

The work is expected to cost 277 billion VND (13.2 million USD).-VNA