The construction contract for the Phu Gia and Phuoc Tuong tunnels on Highway 1 will be opened for bidding, marking the first time a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project will have been offered for tender in a transport project.

The project's total cost has been estimated at nearly 1.2 trillion VND (nearly 57.6 million USD), with about 810 billion VND (39.3 million) earmarked for the tunnel construction.

The Ministry of Transport has said that it will put the project out to tender to choose the best contractor to build the tunnels, the second and third in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue following Hai Van Tunnel.

At least two partnerships have registered to bid for the contract. One of the joint ventures is the alliance of Mien Trung Corporation (Cosevco), Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No 8 (Cienco8), and Phu Thinh Construction Investment Joint Stock Co. The other consists of HCM City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company (CII) and Civil Engineering Construction Joint Stock Co No 591.

The two tunnels, at 500m and 400m long, respectively, will burrow beneath the Phu Gia and Phuoc Tuong passes for a total length of 8.4km. The tunnels will be designed to safely accommodate two lanes of vehicles and help ease the busy traffic over the passes, which see traffic of around 21,000 vehicles daily, as well as frequent traffic jams and accidents due to the curvy roadway.

The project is approved in July and work is expected to begin early next year, with completion slated for 2015./.