About Viet Nam News

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

SE Asia’s longest cable-stayed bridge underway in Can Tho

PM Phan Van Khai (third left) launches construction of the Can Tho Bridge. VNA/VNS Photo The Thuan

CAN THO — Prime Minister Phan Van Khai launched construction of the Can Tho Bridge spanning the Hau River on Saturday. When completed, it will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in Southeast Asia.

The bridge, expected to be completed in 2008, will make ferries along Viet Nam National Highway 1A a thing of the past, said the Prime Minister.

The 2.75km-long bridge spanning the Mekong River tributary will link Vinh Long Province with Hau Giang Province, and have a 4-lane carriageway measuring 26m in width. It will also have a clearance of 39 metres, which will allow large ships to pass underneath.

"The new bridge will certainly help develop the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and at the same time make the region more beautiful," said Khai. "Despite great potential, the Cuu Long Delta, recognised as Viet Nam’s biggest granary and largest source of seafood and fruit farms, has still been left behind by other regions in the country."

Khai said more bridges will be built to facilitate access to the region by 2020. In addition to National Highway 1A, the Ho Chi Minh Highway running from the north to Ca Mau through Rach Gia in Kien Giang Province is under construction. Also to be built is a road running along the coast from HCM City to Can Duoc, Ben Tre and Ca Mau.

Sixteen more bridges will be built on these highways in the Cuu Long Delta in the next 15 years, the prime minister said. In addition, ports and airports will also be developed.

A consortium of Japanese contractors, including Taisei Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Nippon Steel Corporation, under the supervision of consultant Nippon Koei-Chodai, will construct the Can Tho Bridge at a total cost of VND4,832 billion (US$342.6 million), making it not only the longest, but also the most expensive bridge in the country.

Capital for the project will come from the Japan International Co-operation Agency’s technical assistance fund, an ODA loan from the Japan Bank of International Co-operation (JBIC) and the Vietnamese Government.

The bridge will significantly improve the Cuu Long Delta’s accessibility from the commercial and industrial centre of HCM City, thus promoting the distribution of products and the industrial development of the Delta, said the chief representative of JBIC’s Ha Noi office, Masayuki Karasawa.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the Japanese consul general in HCM City, Osamu Shiozaki, reminded the audience that since Japan resumed official development assistance (ODA) for Viet Nam in 1992, it has provided $7.4 billion.

ODA loans has helped Viet Nam build some 70 new bridges with total length of more than 13 km on National Highway 1A, said Minister of Transport Dao Dinh Binh.

The Can Tho Bridge will be an impetus for the socio-economic development of southern Viet Nam and the Cuu Long Delta in particular, he said.

"We can’t ensure smooth traffic on National Highway 1A in the Cuu Long Delta until the Can Tho Bridge is complete," Binh said.

The Can Tho Bridge will provide a much needed alternative for traffic that must now use ferries to cross the river. According to the Transport Ministry, the Can Tho ferries will carry 15,000 vehicles a day by 2005, a number that could rise to more than 29,500 by 2010 and 75,000 by 2020.

A digital image of the Can Tho Bridge Project, which will span the Hau River in the Mekong Delta. — VNS File Photo

Ho Chi Quang, 47, captain of Ferry C200 at Can Tho Ferry Wharf, said most of his staff are expected to move to a new ferry wharf when the Can Tho Bridge is completed.

"Although this could affect our lives in the future, I supported the bridge project because it will help improve the lives of the 20 million people in the Cuu Long Delta," Quang said.

Quang, a resident of Binh Thuy District in Can Tho City, said the completed Can Tho Bridge could help create good jobs for his two children now in university and high school.

The Australian-built My Thuan Bridge over the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong River, is now Viet Nam’s longest cable-stayed bridge. Viet Nam received two-thirds of the funding for the $72 million bridge from Australia in the form of non-refundable aid.

That bridge, 1,535m in length with a clearance height of 37.5m, was opened to traffic in 2000.

Automobile manufacturing plant inaugurated

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai opened a truck and bus manufacturing plant for the Transport, Construction and Mechanical Engineering Joint-Stock Company (Tracomeco) in HCM City on Sunday.

Khai said the Viet Nam automobile industry should aim to meet growing domestic demand and eventually aim to compete with regional and international brands.

The industry should map out strategies to produce more locally made vehicle parts, said the PM.

He asked the Transport Ministry and the Viet Nam Automobiles Corporation to outline measures to manufacture products with Vietnamese trademarks in the coming years.

The US$11.8 million plant on 4ha in Thu Duc District will have an annual production capacity of 2,000 buses and 10,000 trucks.

The company’s products will mainly supply the southern market, said Nguyen Van Khoa, general director of the State-owned Viet Nam Automobiles Corporation, which is the main shareholder in Tracomeco.

The company’s products will contain 40 per cent locally made parts this year, which should increase to 80 per cent in the near future, Khoa said.

The plant is equipped with production technology from leading Korean car maker Hyundai, with its first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line this December. — VNS

Back to Top