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Friday, February 3, 2023

Toll collection on National Highway 51 set to stop this Friday

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Department for Roads of Vietnam has informed the Ministry of Transport of its decision to suspend toll collection this Friday, from 7 a.m., on National Highway 51 which links Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces, reported the local media.

Toll collection on the busy highway was earlier planned to be stopped on December 17 as proposed by the Department for Roads of Vietnam. But the collection has continued ever since because the department and the project’s investor, Bien Hoa – Vung Tau Expressway Development Joint Stock Company (BVEC), had not agreed on the duration of toll collection for the National Highway 51 expansion project.

In a statement sent to the ministry today, January 9, the head of the Department for Roads of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, said his department had done what is authorized regarding the signing of the National Highway 51 expansion project under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.

Certain BOT contract terms, especially those related to investment cost, loan interest rate, toll rate, revenue and traffic flow, have changed. Therefore, the parties concerned have had to conduct negotiations to determine the date of toll collection suspension.

Dinh Hong Ha, general director of BVEC, was quoted by the local media as saying in the middle of last month that BVEC and its lender banks had yet to recoup the initial investment in this road project.

With a length of 86 kilometers, National Highway 51 is an arterial road in the southeastern part of the country, connecting the provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai and on to HCMC. It was upgraded and widened in 2009 with an investment of nearly VND3.8 trillion.

Under the agreement, the estimated toll collection period would last 20 years and six months, from July 2009 to January 2030. However, the traffic volume has surged lately, with 32,000 vehicle crossings a day. During the peak travel season, the figure reached 48,000 auto crossings a day.

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