Quang Ninh: Breakthroughs to drive infrastructure development hinh anh 1A section of the Ha Long-Van Don highway (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – Playing an important role in the Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh economic triangle and serving as a gateway for trade between Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh has been making several breakthroughs to develop local transport infrastructure and meet the burgeoning economic growth.

According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long, it would take the province 10 years to complete its comprehensive, modern transport infrastructure if it only relied on State allocation and local budget. However, Quang Ninh has made a quantum leap with various measures taken to lure private investment.

Thanks to concerted efforts to improve the business climate, within three years, the locality secured 36 trillion VND (1.53 billion USD) in transport projects, three quarters of which were mobilised from the private sector. A line-up of investors have come to the province to branch out key transport projects under build-transfer (BT), build-operate-transfer (BOT), and public-private partnership (PPP) contracts.

The 474.4-million-USD Van Don-Mong Cai highway project will be developed under a BOT and PPP contract inked between the provincial People’s Committee, the joint venture of Long Van Infrastructure Investment and Development Co.,Ltd, Van Don Sun JSC, and Cong Thanh Transportation and Construction Corporation. The joint venture will invest more than 1.26 trillion VND (54.3 million USD) and mobilise nearly 9.86 trillion VND (425.24 million USD) for the project.

The 80.2km Van Don-Mong Cai highway will have four lanes and is designed for an average speed of 100km/hr. It will run through the districts of Van Don, Tien Yen, Dam Ha, and Hai Ha, as well as Mong Cai city.

Construction is scheduled to kick off sometime this year and be completed within 22 months. Fees will be collected for 20 years on the way.

The Van Don-Mong Cai highway is among the three key transport projects of 2018 announced by the province earlier this year. The other two are the Ha Long-Cam Pha coastal road and an undersea tunnel through Cua Luc Bay (the gateway to Ha Long Bay).

The 27km coastal road linking Ha Long to Cam Pha is implemented under the BT form, with a total investment of 5.6 trillion VND (246.4 million USD). Construction of the road, invested in by Vingroup, began at the end of June this year. Once completed, the road is expected to help ease traffic on the section of National Highway 18A that runs through Cam Pha city, while also forming a modern and comprehensive transport network connecting urban areas in the province.

Meanwhile, the 1.3km undersea tunnel project in Ha Long city is estimated to cost 7.875 trillion VND (346.5 million USD) under a BT contract. It will start at the intersection that leads into Sun World Ha Long Park (Bai Chay Ward) and end at the intersection in Hong Gai Ward – considered as the “main axes” on each side of Cua Luc Bay.

The tunnel is expected to help connect transport along the coastal roads of Ha Long city.

Together with other local transport projects such as the Hai Phong-Ha Long and Ha Long-Van Don highways, as well as upgrades to National Highway 18, key projects are hoped to improve the province’s transport infrastructure system, thus contributing to local socio-economic development and promoting local tourism and increasing the potential of border and marine economies.

In addition, the Bach Dang bridge connecting the northern port city of Hai Phong and Quang Ninh was put into operation in early September. It helps shorten the distance from Hanoi to Quang Ninh from 175km to 125km, thus cutting the travel time between the two localities.

Furthermore, the Van Don International Airport, invested at a total cost of nearly 7.5 trillion VND (319.47 million USD), has stayed in the limelight of the local infrastructure system. This is the very first airport project in Vietnam to apply the BOT investment model.

Vice Director of the provincial Department of Transport Bui Hong Minh said that the BOT projects have created momentum to develop tourism, enhance trade exchange, while also improving its competitive capacity and bettering the quality of life for local people.

BOT and PPP investment models should be applied in a flexible manner and local authorities should create a friendly business environment to make Quang Ninh a more attractive destination to powerful investors. –VNA