The Prime Minister has approved a transport development plan for the northern economic region by 2020 with a view towards 2030.

Under the decision, which will take effect from March. 10, the plan was drawn up to develop all the advantages the region has, as is located in the centre of the region and is a strategic gateway for sea and air routes.

The plan will help to ensure a link up between sea, river, rail and air transport routes, as well as link the capital city of Hanoi to other cities and provinces in the region.

Under the plan, by 2020, the volume of transport in the northern economic region is expected to reach 500 million tonnes of goods and 800 million passengers a year with an annual growth rate of 10 percent.

The public transport network will reach 35 percent in Hanoi and between 15-20 percent in the northern port city of Hai Phong and other urban areas.

In term of infrastructure, by 2020, an additional 500km of highway will be completed and 80 percent of rural roads will be upgraded. Meanwhile, the current railway network will also be upgraded and connected to international ports, economic and mining zones and large tourism centres. Railway routes in urban areas, especially in Hanoi, will also be focused on.

The plan includes developing deep water ports to international standards in Lach Huyen, Hai Phong city and Cai Lan, Quang Ninh province as well as upgrading the Phu Dong container port in Hanoi and other passenger ports in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh.

The T2 terminal at Noi Bai international airport is expected to be completed by 2015.

In terms of urban transport in Hanoi, projects on main routes and links to the city centre, ring roads and rail routes will be sped up to help ease traffic congestion and extra land for new urban transport routes will be provided.

The plan also laid out measures and plans to develop transportation and infrastructure while ensuring traffic safety and environmental protection./.