Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is studying a proposal to build an expressway from Ho Chi Minh City to Moc Bai, in the border with Cambodia, according to Vietnamese news outlets.
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The project could eventually be linked to another proposed project, the expressway between Phnom Penh and Bavet city, also in the border.
A pre-feasibility study on the Ho Chi Minh-Moc Bai expressway, which would run for 53.5 kilometres, was recently submitted to the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport and will need to be approved by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The news surfaced during a meeting between the mayor of Ho Chi Minh City and the governor of Tay Ninh province, in the border with Cambodia.
During the meeting, it was revealed that the project, if granted approval, would be connected to Cambodia’s Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway at the Moc Bai international border gate that separates the countries.
Speaking to Khmer Times on Friday, Va Sim Sorya, spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, said he wasn’t aware of the Vietnamese expressway project, but noted that both nations signed a memorandum of understanding in 2017 to study the possibility of building an expressway to connect them.
A feasibility study on the Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway was concluded last year by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The thoroughfare would have a length of 160 kilometres and cost $3.8 billion, according to JICA.
By comparison, the Ho Chi Minh City-Moc Bai expressway would cost around $460 million, according to the pre-feasibility study.
Vietnam’s Transport Minister, Nguyen Van The, said the high-speed expressway would strengthen the connection between Vietnam’s key southern economic zone and East-West economic corridor countries, namely Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
Speaking at the recent groundbreaking of the expressway linking Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway could play a critical role in enhancing connectivity with the region.
“It would boost the internal integration of Cambodia and accelerate the country’s economic growth,” the prime minister said.