Tre Province on Saturday opened a new bridge over the Ham Luong River that is expected to significantly boost economic development of the Mekong Delta.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung cut the ribbon at 3pm officially opening the four-lane Ham Luong Bridge to traffic. The inauguration ceremony was held at one end of the 1.28-kilometer long, 16-meter wide bridge linking Ben Tre Town and Mo Cay Bac District in the province.
Attending the ceremony, Nguyen Thai Xay, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said, "This is a project that 1.3 million Ben Tre residents have waited a long time for.
"Ben Tre [economy] has developed slowly partly because the province' areas are separated by branches of the Mekong River. Since the Rach Mieu Bridge [linking Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces] opened in January, 2009, the Ben Tre economy has got better as more investors have come.
"Now, with Ham Luong Bridge, surely the province will have big opportunities to grow more rapidly and stronger. In the near future, I strongly believe Ben Tre will catch up with other Mekong Delta provinces."
Construction work on Ham Luong Bridge began on April 1, 2007 with an investment of nearly VND787 billion (US$41.7 million) from the state budget.
Situated about 2.3 kilometers upstream from the Ham Luong Ferry, the bridge was built by Vietnamese engineers and workers.
Ham Luong bridge is expected to accelerate the socio-economic development of not only Ben Tre but also its neighboring province of Tra Vinh as the distance between the province and Ho Chi Minh City will be shortened by 60 kilometers along National Highway 60.