LAO CAI, Vietnam (Xinhua) – Vietnam’s longest expressway connecting Noi Bai in capital Hanoi and northwestern Lao Cai province, bordering China, with a total length of 245 kilometres officially opened to traffic on Sunday.
Started construction from 2009, the Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway runs from Noi Bai through provinces of Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai to Lao Cai with a total investment of over 1.46 billion US dollars, including around one billion US dollars loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
ADB Country Director for Vietnam Tomoyuki Kimura said at the traffic opening ceremony held in Lao Cai province on Sunday that with the completion of the project, the travel time between Hanoi and Lao Cai will be reduced significantly from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours.
In addition to the project’s significant impacts on Vietnam’s own national development, the project is one of ADB key projects in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) programme.
The project is an inseparable section of the GMS north-south economic corridor along China’s Kunming to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and seaport city Hai Phong. It will also be connected with Kunming expressway in China, Kimura said.
“We believed that Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway will contribute to further facilitating bilateral trade between Vietnam and China and turning the existing GMS transport corridor into a real economic corridor,” said the ADB official.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway is of great significance in socio-economy, defence and security not only for provinces where it run through, but also for the northwestern region and the whole country, as well as for cooperation among GMS countries, including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.