The Thu Thiem tunnel running beneath the Sai Gon river in Ho Chi Minh City and the entire East-West Highway were open to traffic on Nov. 20.

President Truong Tan Sang, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yasuaki Tanizaki and chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) attended the inaugural ceremony.

The East-West Highway, which runs through eight districts, is a key project of HCM City’s urban traffic infrastructure system. The highway was built with total capital of 16 trillion VND (762 million USD), of which 65 percent coming from the Japanese Government’s ODA loans and the rest from city’s budget.

The Thu Thiem tunnel, which is 1,490m long and 33m wide, is an important section of the 22km East-West Highway.

Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai commended the city’s authorities and people on completing the project on schedule. The highway will help reduce travel time and ease traffic congestion in the inner city, at the same time facilitating urban development in the eastern part of the city.

He also asked relevant agencies to effectively manage and operate the Thu Thiem tunnel and the East West Highway./.