The last portion of the Ho Chi Minh City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway opened to traffic Sunday, playing a key role in clearing clogged traffic and slashing travel distances from HCMC to other provinces.
The two-lane expressway with an emergency lane on each side allows for speeds of up to 120 kph (74.5 mph) -- the highest in Vietnam, according to Vietnam Expressway Corporation, the investor of the project.
In HCMC, the highway ends at an intersection of Beltway No. 2 in District 2. Vehicles from the city's center can reach this intersection by going through the Thu Thiem Tunnel to Mai Chi Tho Street and then turning right on Dong Van Cong Street.
The newly-opened Long Thanh – Dau Giay section, about 32km of the expressway’s total length of 55-km (34-mile), mostly runs through rubber plants of Dong Nai Province.
The other 23-km section from HCMC to Dong Nai’s Long Thanh District, which opened in January 2014, curtails travel time from HCMC to the beach town of Vung Tau from two and and a half hours to only one hour and 20 minutes.
The expressway shortens the distance from HCMC to the future-Long Thanh International Airport. It is also expected to cut travel time from the southern hub to the Dau Giay intersection, which leads to the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat, from three hours to one.
"The expressway plays a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country," Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said at the inauguration ceremony. "It helps to create jobs, improve people's lives and beef up national and regional defense,"
A section of the Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway linking HCMC to Dong Nai Province.
Pham Hong Quang, deputy general director of Vietnam Expressway Corporation, said the first section has served more than five million vehicles.
“More than nine million vehicles are expected to travel the expressway this year after the last section is commissioned.”
“Accordingly, it will save fuel cost of about VND460 billion,” he said.
Breaking ground in October 2009, the VND20.6-trillion (US$968-million) expressway will become part of the North-South Expressway connecting Hanoi and Can Tho City on a distance of 1.811 km.