The Ministry of Communications and Transport has mapped out the routes of eight expressways and five highways to be built in the next 15 years in the area called the Southern Focal Economic Zone.
This particular zone takes up a large swathe of the mid south and comprises HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Tay Ninh provinces.
A ministry official says the roads will fit in well with the existing and planned sea and river ports, inland waterways, airports and railways.
Five of the expressways are to be built by 2015, the first being a 60-kilometer road between HCM City and Trung Luong. Construction of this expressway to the south has just begun.
Next up are an 80-kilometer expressway between HCM City and Dau Giay via Long Thanh (in Dong Nai), and another of the same length from Bien Hoa, the capital of Dong Nai, to Vung Tau on the coast.
The other two expressways are a 90-kilometerlinkbetween Ben Luc and Long Thanh via Nhon Trach (again in Dong Nai) and a 190-kilometerroad from Dau Giay to Da Lat in the Central Highlands.
In later years the plan is to build expressways along the 350kilometers from Dau Giay to Nha Trung on the central coast, the 80 kilometres from HCM City to Moc Bai on the Cambodian border, and the 90 kilometres from HCM City to a place called Chon Thanh.
Sections of the new roads will form five beltways around HCM City, two of which are already under construction.
The ministry will submit the proposed routes to the government within a few days.
In its plans for port development this decade, the ministry has decided the Southern Focal Economic Zone will house three shipping hubs.
In HCM City, the hub will comprise Cat Lai, Nha Be and Hiep Phuoc ports and what’s left of Saigon Port after most of the inner-city docks have gone.
By 2010 the city’s piers will be able to accommodate ships of 35,000 tonnes and handle 71 million tonnes of cargo a year.
The Dong Nai hub will comprise Phu Huu, Ong Keo, Go Dau and Phuoc An ports, and will be able to accommodate 30,000-tonne ships and handle 30 million tonnes ofcargo a year.
In the more ambitious plans for Ba Ria-Vung Tau on the coast, the ports of Cai Mep-Thi Vai and Vung Tau-Song Dinh will be servicing 80,000-tonne vessels and be able to handle 56 million tonnes of cargo a year.
Railways spreading throughout the region from HCM City are also viewed as strategic, but the ministry says these will not be built before 2010.