Project management unit number 2 (PMU2) has urged the Ministry of Transport to approve a pre-feasibility study it has done for the HCM City – Moc Bai Expressway (Photo: saigondautu.com.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Project management unit number 2 (PMU2) has urged the Ministry of Transport to approve a pre-feasibility study it has done for the Ho Chi Minh City – Moc Bai Expressway.

The 53.5km highway will run from Hoc Mon district in the city to a point on National Road 22 two kilometres from the Moc Bai border gate with Cambodia.

It is planned to be built in two stages. The first stage from HCM City to Trang Bang will be a six-lane expressway with a width of 27m that will allow vehicles to travel at speeds of 120km.

The second stage from Trang Bang to Moc Bai will be a four-lane expressway with a width of 17m since traffic on this stretch is expected to be lighter.

The first stage is expected to cost 10.5 trillion VND (457 million USD), including 5.75 trillion VND (250 million USD) for construction and equipment and 2 trillion VND (87 million USD) for land acquisition.

National Road 22 is currently the only road connecting HCM City with the Moc Bai border gate, which provides overland access to Southeast Asia, and the number of vehicles using it is increasing by 8 – 10 percent a year.

It is predicted it will become overloaded once the trans-Asia road linking Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand opens to traffic in a few years’ time.

“It is time to invest in an expressway connecting HCM City with the Moc Bai border gate,” Le Thang, deputy general director of PMU 2, told Dau Tu (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper.

In August Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc instructed the Ministry of Transport and Tay Ninh province to make preparations for building the HCM City – Moc Bai Expressway and submit the pre-feasibility study for it to the Government in the fourth quarter of this year.

“The public-private partnership (PPP) model is the only way to mobilise capital for the project in the context of limited availability of Government funds,” Thang said.

However, due to the huge sums involved, the PMU2 has urged the ministry to use a mix of PPP, ODA and Government funding.

In the event, 5.4 trillion VND (235 million USD) will come from PPP, 5 trillion VND (217 million USD) from the Government and 2.9 trillion VND (126 million USD) from ODA.

The expressway is expected to break even in 17 and a half years with the initial toll for vehicles being 1,500 VND (65 US cents) per kilometre.

The biggest risk the project could face is a delay in acquiring land since a huge 342 hectares would be required.

“If localities do not provide 80 percent of the land required before work starts and the remaining 20 percent in the next six to 12 months, local authorities might be punished,” Mai The Vinh of the PPP Transport Policy Centre at George Mason University in the US, said. — VNS/VNA