Noi Bai - Lao Cai highway 'awakes' Northwest region

Wednesday, 2014-12-31 18:07:29
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The Noi Bai - Lao Cai highway
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NDO - The operation of the Noi Bai - Lao Cai highway, the longest of its kind in Vietnam, has 'awoken' the potential of the mountainous Northwest region.

Office Manager of the Vietnam Expressways Corporation (VEC) Do Chi Trung said that the opening of the Noi Bai–Lao Cai highway was a breakthrough for the transport sector, helping shorten the travel time from Hanoi to Lao Cai province from current seven hours to 3.5 hours and opening opportunities for socio-economic development of localities in the northwest region.

The highway is also a lever to boost GDP growth, create links between industrial zones, and promote tourism, halving the travel time from Hanoi to Tuyen Quang and Ha Giang provinces as well as reduce traffic accidents and traffic pressure on national highways 2, 2B, 32C, 4E and 70, Trung noted.

Thanks to the new highway, the number of tourists going to Sapa in Lao Cai province has surged sharply, up 40% compared to the previous year. Currently, Sapa receives between 2,000 and 3,000 tourists per day with the figures climbing to 12,000 and 15,000 per day on weekends. Before the launching of the highway in September, Sapa welcomed about 23,000 arrivals per week.

Along with the growing number of tourists to Sapa, other services and the life of the ethnic minority groups have also been improved. The Giay ethnic minority people in Ta Van Giay village, Sapa for instance, know how to invest their money in tourism and provide homestay services to tourists. The remote border area in the Northwest has become closer to tourists, becoming a 'must-see' destination.

The 245km Noi Bai–Lao Cai highway passes through Hanoi's Noi Bai and the four provinces of Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai, helping localities connect their industrial zones, trade and tourism centres with the highway to utilise positive impacts from the route.

Song Lo district in Vinh Phuc province, about 75km from Hanoi has many potentials for development, but due to poor transport infrastructure, Song Lo could not attract investment and integrate with other regions. Thanks to the new highway, Vinh Phuc authorities approved the master plans on Song Lo 1 and Song Lo 2 Industrial Zones and the project to build a road linking the Noi Bai–Lao Cai highway with industrial zones.

In the reverse direction, the new highway helps facilitate the transportation of local farm produce and industrial products made in Lao Cai such as steel, copper sheet, fertiliser and chemicals to the flat provinces.
Vice Chairman of Lao Cai provincial People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Duong said that the route will create favourable conditions for localities in the region, including Lao Cai, to promote its potential and strength, and attract more investment for development, contributing to boosting local economic development and international trade.

To take advantage of the new route, Lao Cai province has invested in developing its infrastructure and border gate economic zones including Kim Thanh trade and industrial zone, the largest of its kind in the northwest region. The zone has become an important centre of the China–Vietnam economic corridor of Kumming–Lao Cai–Hanoi–Hai Phong and the China–Vietnam Nanning– Lang Son-Hanoi-Hai Phong economic corridor.

Construction of the Noi Bai–Lao Cai highway began in 2008 and was completed in late September 2014. The Hanoi–Yen Bai section has four lanes with a maximum speed of 100km per hour while the remaining Yen Bai–Lao Cai section is designed with two lanes and a maximum speed of 80km per hour.

This is a particularly important project under the Kunming-Hai Phong road corridor and under the co-operation programme between six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China.