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Ben Tre jubilant as Rach Mieu bridge opens to traffic
By Ho Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
Tuesday,  Jan 20, 2009,21:02 (GMT+7)

Ben Tre jubilant as Rach Mieu bridge opens to traffic

By Ho Hung - The Saigon Times Daily

People in festive mood drive through the newly-opened cable-stayed bridge on the opening day
BEN TRE – Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta now sees opportunities of development open wide as Rach Mieu Bridge was put through to traffic on Monday, making the poverty-stricken province easily accessible.

The cable-stayed bridge linking the two Mekong Delta provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre is the first one constructed entirely by Vietnamese architects, engineers and workers after nearly seven years of work.

Vị trí đặt quảng cáo“The completion of the 2,878-meter-long Rach Mieu bridge helps Ben Tre out of the position of an oasis as well as improves transportation and trade between HCMC and 12 provinces and one city in the Mekong Delta,” said the provincial Party secretary, Huynh Van Be, at the opening ceremony. The bridge includes car lanes, motorcycle lanes, bicycle and cyclo lanes and sidewalks.

Rach Mieu Bridge as viewed from the Tien River - Photos: Kinh Luan
“It takes vehicles less than five minutes to travel between the two provinces instead of 30 minutes by ferry across the Tien River,” Be added.

Other officials shared the joy at the ceremony attended by senior national leaders including permanent secretary of the Central Party Secretariat Truong Tan Sang and Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong.

“With more convenient transport infrastructure, Ben Tre hopes to attract more foreign investors to bring jobs, raise living standards and create favorable conditions for socioeconomic development in the province,” said Ben Tre’s vice chairman Nguyen Quoc Bao.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong, who chaired the opening ceremony, uttered his joy at the new bridge, saying he wanted to cried out his happiness as the two banks of the Tien River was now bridged. Trong, who used to serve as chairman of Ben Tre Province some 20 years ago, urged the province and other neighboring localities to make the most of the new bridge for their socio-economic development.

Ben Tre Province, due to the lack of a bridge earlier, has failed to attract investors, local and foreign alike. The province has secured only 19 foreign direct investment projects with registered capital of US$120 million although over 100 international investors make survey trips to the province each year.

However, positive signals have surfaced recently when more investors are going there to sound out business opportunities, with several projects licensed in the past few weeks.

Located along National Highway 60, the bridge also serves neighboring Tra Vinh Province. National Highway 60, when complete, will help reduce traffic on National Highway 1A, said Vo Hung Dung from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong asked that Ham Luong bridge be opened by the end of this year to create a complete corridor in the Mekong Delta with high economic and national security values.

The Rach Mieu Bridge build-operate-transfer (BOT) project began on April 30, 2002, with invested capital of nearly VND1.4 trillion for the bridge stretching over 8,300 meters including approach roads. Some 60% of the capital came from the State budget and the rest from its BOT investors of Civil Engineering Construction Corporation 1, 5, and 6 under the Ministry of Transport.

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