Longest Expressway in Vietnam Opens Between Hanoi and Lao Cai

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HANOI – Last Sunday, in Lao Cai’s Bao Thang District, Vietnamese government officials announced the opening of a 245 kilometer expressway. The expressway, which is the longest in Vietnam, stretches from Hanoi’s Noi Bai through the provinces of Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, and Yen Bai finally ending in Lao Cai. Now that the road is open to traffic, the travel time between Hanoi and Lao Cai has been cut in half.

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Vietnam’s Prime Minister Dung, who attended the opening ceremony, stated that the new expressway would play an important role in the economic development of the northwest region of the country. The Prime Minister also called on the country’s Ministry of Transport to ensure that the final part of the expressway was extended all the way to Kunming, China.

The construction on the expressway began in 2009 and required a total investment of US$1.46 billion, including a US$1 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – the project was one of the ADB’s key projects in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) program.

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An ADB official, speaking on the importance of the expressway, was quoted as saying “”We believed that Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressway will contribute to further facilitating bilateral trade between Vietnam and China and turning the existing GMS transport corridor into a real economic corridor.”

The expressway is part of the Kunming (China) – Hai Phong (Vietnam) Transport Corridor. It is a mixture of four lane sections (Hanoi to Yen Bai) and two lane sections (Yen Bai to Lao Cai). In addition, the expressway includes 120 bridges, a 530-meter long tunnel, 13 toll collection stations, and five rest stations. It is hoped that, in the future, the Yen Bai to Lao Cai section will be enlarged to four lanes.

Toll fees for the expressway are as follows:

  • For drivers that use only parts of the expressway:
    • VND1,000 ($0.047) per km for cars on the two-lane section of the road
    • VND1,500 per km for cars on the four-lane section
  • For drivers who use the whole route:
    • The minimum toll is VND300,000 ($14.2) per vehicle for vans with under seven seats
    • The maximum toll is VND1.22 million ($57.5) per vehicle for trucks with a load of over 18 tons, or those carrying a 40” container

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