Hanoi-Vientiane highway may cost at least $4.5 billion

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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The manager of a highway project linking Hanoi with Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, has estimated the cost for the 707-kilometer route at US$4.52 billion. 
In its latest plan submitted to the transport ministry, the project's manager Unit 85 said the six-lane highway will go through the central province of Nghe An, allowing vehicles to move at 80-120 kilometers per hour.
Another option, the unit said, the highway can pass through the central province of Ha Tinh, with a total distance of 720 kilometers and a cost estimate $7.1 billion. Unit 85, run by the ministry, dismissed the option as costly, even though it would connect more Vietnamese and Lao localities.
One of three transport projects that Vietnamese and Lao governments are working on, the highway is expected to help link capital cities of Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
In October the transport ministry announced its plan to work with Korea International Cooperation Agency to study the feasibility of a 550-kilometer railroad between Ha Tinh's Vung Ang Port and Vientiane.
Together with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam also look to build a passenger bus service that connects Ha Tinh, Khammouan Province in the central region of Laos, and Nakhon Phanom Province in the northeast of Thailand.

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