Bui Xuan Cuong, deputy director of the transport department in Ho Chi Minh City, presented the National Assembly’s Committee for Science and Technology with a VND2.6 trillion (€91 billion; $122.5 billion) estimate of what the city needs to invest in infrastructure by 2020 to ease congestion, local press reported. This represents $17.5 billion per year, more than seven times the city’s budget of VND7-8 trillion per year.
According to its traffic and transport development plan for the period 2014-2020, recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the city will build and improve six expressway routes as well as renovate and upgrade numerous national highways.
These include highways 1, 22 and 13 which connect Ho Chi Minh’s northwestern and northeastern outskirts to the Cambodian border, with route 22 a major trade axis between the two countries.
Highway QL1K serves the northeastern end of the city 32 kilometers (km) north to Bien Hoa, a highly populated suburb of the former capital and a major industrial hub with warehouses and factories.
Highway QL50 connects Ho Chi Minh to the Mekong delta, an important centre for tourism and fluvial trade.
The city wants to improve inner-city connections with the creation of an overground metro line, which would link district 3’s Hoa Hung metro station, near the Saigon railway station, with the city centre’s Binh Trieu metro station.
Five railway system projects are reported to also be in the pipeline.
This announcement follows the start of a series of other construction works aimed at alleviating congestion. Last week the city inaugurated the start of works on the expansion of a bridge and approved the creation of a pathway in the central Binh Thran District, with construction costs estimated at VND120 billion for the latter project.