The development of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway has been boosted following the approval of a US$ 410 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The money will be used to construct a 51 km-long, four-lane tolled expressway, which will start from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City (at the junction of the Second Ring Road in District 9) and end at the junction with National Highway 1 at Dau Giay in Dong Nai Province.

The project includes the construction of a 1700 m-long bridge over the Dong Nai River at Long Thanh.

Ho Chi Minh is Viet Nam's largest city and the country's major economic hub. Economic activity in the city and the surrounding provinces is focused on the industry and service sectors, driven by export markets.

The road network around the city is heavily congested; travel speeds are decreasing and transport costs increasing. The new expressway will contribute to "a more streamlined traffic flow", which will have a significant impact on economic activities in Ho Chi Minh City, the surrounding provinces, and the Greater Mekong Subregion.

The entire expressway project will cost US$ 932 million, with other funding coming from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Viet Nam Expressway Corporation.

The expressway will be completed in 2014.

Commenting on the loan, John Cooney, Director, Infrastructure Division of ADB's Southeast Asia Department, said, "Better roads assist people and businesses by lowering transport costs and transportation time. There will also be a flow-on effect of less pollution caused by traffic congestion. Traffic accidents will be reduced by better roads; this has a very important social and economic impact."

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