Bình Dương is seeking extension of HCM City’s first metro route from Bến Thành to Suối Tiên so that it can reach the province’s Mỹ Phước-Tân Vạn Road. (Source: nld.com.vn)

HCM City (VNA) - After Dong Nai Province, it is now the turn of Binh Duong to seek extension of HCM City’s first metro route from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien so that it can reach the province’s My Phuoc-Tan Van Road.

The province has sought Ministry of Transport approval, saying the 1.8km extension - from HCM City’s Suoi Tien station to the Tan Van T-junction - would help attract local and overseas investors to the province and develop new urban areas along the route.

If the metro route is extended to Binh Duong it would create favourable conditions to develop HCM City, Bien Hoa and Binh Duong New City, it said.

In January Dong Nai Province had asked the ministry to extend the route by 4.7km to the Vung Tau intersection in Bien Hoa City.

Dong Nai People’s Commitee Deputy Chairman Tran Van Vinh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that extending the route makes sense since Dong Nai is located near HCM City’s eastern entrance and connects it with the northern and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) regions.

“The province also has 29 industrial parks, which attract a large number of workers and experts who live in HCM City and regularly travel between the two localities, thus causing heavy traffic and jams.

“The extension of the first metro route … will significantly ease the traffic jams at the eastern gate way of HCM City.

“The change would also improve the metro’s efficiency and create an impetus for economic development in the area.”

Though the ministry has yet to reply in detail to the two provinces’ extension proposals, they have begun to make preparations.

Dong Nai authorities said land for laying the tracks and building the station across from the Bien Hoa 2 Industrial Park has been arranged.

According to Binh Duong authorities, a considerable amount of money has been earmarked to build the My Phuoc-Tan Van Road and develop public transport along the road.

Nguyen Van Hung, General Director of the province-owned Becamex IDI Corporation, said the province is building the 26.5km road linking the My Phuoc Urban Area and Industrial Park with HCM City’s Hanoi Express Highway.

Once finished, the road will reduce the time needed to transport goods from the province and HCM City to deep water ports in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. 

The construction is also part of preparations for connecting Binh Duong with the metro for the benefit of commuters. Besides, the Binh Duong authorities have done the spadework to get funds from Japanese official development assistance (ODA) for construction of a metro route to HCM City in future.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said, “The transport ministry advocates the extension of the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro route to the two provinces since it is also part of HCM City’s plans to develop urban metro systems to connect the city with satellite cities like Bien Hoa.

“Dong Nai and Binh Duong have to work with HCM City to make specific plans to extend the metro route to the two provinces. The transport ministry will instruct consulting units to assess the plan.”

Many government and independent experts have stressed the need to extend the metro route to Dong Nai and Binh Duong, but call for careful studies first.

The metro project was first proposed in 2001 as part of a comprehensive public transport network plan for HCM City and neighbouring provinces with the aim of easing traffic congestion.

It also includes three monorail lines with a total length of 37km and six metro routes running 107km - Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien, Ben Thanh-Tham Luong, Ben Thanh- Binh Tan, Lang Cha Ca-Van Thanh, and Thu Thirm-Can Giuoc.

Ben Thanh will be a hub connecting most of the routes.

The first metro and its underground stations near the Opera House and Ben Thanh Market in District 1 are under construction.-VNA