Ministry approves HCM City-Long Thanh expressway expansion hinh anh 1A section of the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway connecting HCM City with the southern province of Dong Nai. (Source: VNExpress)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) -
The Ministry of Transport has approved Dong Nai province’s proposal to widen Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh expressway to 10 lanes from its current four.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has ordered the Cuu Long Corporation for Investment Development and Project Management of Infrastructure (Cuu Long Corporation) to submit a pre-feasibility report for the proposal by the fourth quarter.

The widening of the 24km section from HCM City’s District 2 to Long Thanh township in Dong Nai will be done in 2021-2030 period, according to the ministry. 

The said the Department of Planning and Investment would advise on how to source capital for the work.

He also urged the department to study about construction of elevated roads, light rail and transit bus stations to connect the city with the proposed Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai.

The province has said the expansion work is urgent since the expressway is “a key transport route connecting the proposed Long Thanh International Airport.”

Traffic congestion has become routine on both the expressway and the section of Highway No. 51 to HCM City during peak hours and holidays, it said. 

The spots most often gridlocked are Long Phuoc and Dau Giay stations, branch D of Highway No. 50, inner roads connecting Highway 51, and Mai Chi Tho and Vo Chi Cong streets.

The widening will ease congestion when the airport opens in 2025.

The Cuu Long Corporation has recommended widening to eight lanes at a cost of 9.8 trillion VND (422.36 million USD) from 2025 and to 10 lanes starting in 2040. 

The 55km expressway was built five years ago, shortening travel from HCM City to south-eastern provinces to 20 minutes from the earlier 60 and to Vung Tau to a little more than an hour.

But drivers have been complaining about the slow speed of traffic on the road, and the expressway management has to frequently warn people to take other routes.

According to the Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering Joint Stock Company, which manages it, the traffic volume was 10 million vehicles in 2015 and 16.5 million last year. 

It now handles 52,000 vehicles daily (rising to 60,000 on holidays and Lunar New Year) though its designed capacity is only 44,000, the company said./.