Mekong Delta localities must speed up work to open 463 kilometers of new expressways in the next three years, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Monday.
“We have to be determined to improve the traffic infrastructure in the region within this government term [2021-2026], especially the expressway system,” the prime minister said when meeting with authorities in the Mekong Delta.
Between now and 2026, the region should build an additional 463 kilometers of expressways, he said.
As per a master plan for traffic infrastructure development, the region is set to have six expressways measuring 1,166 kilometers long in total. They are to be funded by either state funds or via the public-private partnership format.
Until now, only four expressways have been completed, running a combined total of 171 kilometers in length.
The delta now has eight expressway projects that are either under construction or still waiting for investment procedures to be completed.
The eight projects will cost a total VND94.4 trillion (US$4 billion).
PM Chinh ordered that related agencies and localities where the projects go through must speed up work so that they can be completed in the next three years to give the Mekong Delta 544 kilometers of expressways by 2026, which is three times longer than what they are now.
The Mekong Delta, covering 40,000 square kilometers (four million hectares), or 13% of the nation’s total area, is home 17.5 million people, or 18% of the nation’s population.
For generations, the delta, which has 1.5 million hectares of land cultivating rice, has been the rice bowl of the nation.
A neighbor of Ho Chi Minh City, the region accounts for half of the nation’s rice production, 95% of rice exports, 65% of aquaculture production, and 70% of fruit output.
The prime minister said the development of transport infrastructure, including expressways, will contribute to reducing input costs and improving the competitiveness of agricultural products in the region.
The completion of traffic infrastructure will also open up new development opportunities for people living in the delta, allowing them to remain in their hometowns and find stable jobs there, rather than having to migrate to Ho Chi Minh City or other industrial hubs to find work.
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