VNs longest expressway opens
The road cuts the seven-hour drive from Haø Noäi to Laøo Cai in half
LAØO CAI Prime Minister Nguyeãn Taán Duõng inaugurated the 245 km Noäi Baøi-Laøo Cai expressway, the longest of its kind in Vieät Nam, yesterday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, PM Duõng stressed that the expressway played a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the northwest region. He instructed the Transport Ministry and northwestern provinces to ensure that provincial highways could easily be connected to the expressway.
He also asked the Transport Ministry to quickly finish the 19 km section that links Lao Cai to the border with China and expand the Yeân Baùi-Laøo Cai section from two to four lanes.
Nguyeãn Vaên Vònh, party secretary of Laøo Cai Province, reaffirmed the express ways important role in helping the province attract investment and trade, as well as reducing the load on the Haø Noäi-Laøo Cai railway route.
The expressway crosses through the capital as well as Vónh Phuùc, Phuù Thoï, Yeân Baùi and Laøo Cai provinces. The Haø Noäi-Yeân Baùi section has four lanes for vehicles travelling 100 kph while the Yeân Baùi-Laøo Cai section has two lanes for vehicles travelling 80 kph.
The project, which broke ground in 2008, has total investment of nearly US$1.5 billion, including $1.03 billion from the AsianDevelopmentBank(ADB)s Ordinary Capital Resources, $236.21 million as soft loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)sAsianDevelopmentFund and $ 170.31 million as the Governments counterpart capital, which was spent on site clearance. At least 25,000 households were cleared for the project.
The expressway will shorten the travel time from Haø Noäi to Laøo Cai from the current seven hours to 3.5 hours, in addition to reducing the time it takes to drive from Haø Noäi to Tuyeân Quang and Haø Giang.
PM Duõng also inaugurated the opening of a cast iron and steel plant in Tang Long Industrial Complex in Bao Thang District yesterday.
The joint venture between Vieät Nam Steel Corporation, Laøo Cai Mineral Company and Kunning Steel and Cast Iron Joint Stock Company was completed in three years and will initially produce 500,000 tonnes of cast iron per year. Part of a longterm development plan for the countrys steel sector, it will provide jobs for about 1,000 locals.
PM Duõng stressed that the new plant would help the domestic steel sector meet demand and reflected the ongoing co-operation between Vietnamese and Chinese companies.
Also as part of his working visit to Laøo Cai, PM Duõng reminded local authorities to take advantage of tourism to promote sustainable development during a working session on Saturday with provincial authorities.
In addition, he asked the locality to foster the mineral exploitation and processing industry as well as agro-forestry production and said the province should take more drastic measures to implement the national strategy programme on building new-style rural areas.
Regarding a development plan for the popular tourist destination of Sa Pa, the PM said Laøo Cai should invite foreign consultants if necessary so that the plan could optimise Sa Pas potential and advantages while preserving local cultural characteristics, natural landscape and heritage and protecting the environment. He suggested local authorities work out policies to mobilise resources for developing transport infrastructure and tourism services.
Laøo Cais economic growth was estimated at 13.7 percent in the first nine months and the number of tourists rose 33 percent from the same period last year, according to chairman of the provincial Peoples Committee Doõan Vaên Höôûng.
Authorities aim to develop the area into a tourism zone covering around 363 ha and comprising urban residential areas, tourism sites, agriculture zones and the Hoang Lien National Park.
PM Duõng also inspected the construction site of a cable car line that will carry visitors to the top of Mt. Fansipan, Vieät Nams highest peak. The line is scheduled to be complete by April 2015.
Vehicles travel on the 245km Noäi Baøi - Laøo Cai Expressway, which connects Noäi Baøi in Haø Noäi and Laøo Cai Province. The expressway opened to traffic yesterday. VNA/VNS Photo Huy Huøng