Vietnam says they need funds for 5,900 km of expressways

HANOI – Vietnam, where crumbling infrastructure has been criticised for impeding economic development, is seeking funds to build nearly 5,900 km (3,666 miles) of expressways in the next decade, the government said on Thursday.

“It is very feasible to quickly recoup investment in expressway projects, given the pace of the country’s economic
growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said at a workshop organised by the World Bank in Hanoi.

The World Bank estimated it would cost about $9 million to build one km of highway in Vietnam, putting the total funds needed to develop the proposed expressway network in the Southeast Asian country at $53 billion.

Hung said the government would seek funds from various sources including foreign aid, government and corporate bonds as well as participation from the private sector.

Vietnam’s undeveloped road network and speedy urbanisation have resulted in rising traffic accidents and heavy congestion in large cities.

In the past week, heavy rain has inundated parts of Hanoi and turned some of the capital’s roads into rivers.

Traffic accidents in Vietnam, home to 21 million motorcycles and more than 1 million cars, killed nearly 7,000 people in the first seven months of 2008, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.