NDO – The contracts to build Vietnam’s north-south expressway must be awarded through an open and transparent bidding process, stated Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung. He told a meeting on January 11 that such a process is required to choose the competent contractors for one of the nation’s key infrastructure projects. Vietnam is planning to build an additional 654 kilometres of expressway over the next three years at a total cost of VND118.7 trillion (US$5.27 billion). Half of the costs will be covered by the government budget while the rest will be provided by private investors. Under the Ministry of Transport’s plan, there will be 11 sub-projects covering 11 sections of the expressway, eight of which are to be financed through build-operate-transfer (BOT) arrangements. Except for one section that will have only four lanes, all the remaining sections will have six lanes. The average fee for a car with fewer than five seats using the North-South expressway is estimated at VND2,500 per kilometre. The plan, with construction scheduled for completion in 2021, was approved by the Vietnamese parliament, the National Assembly, in November last year. Specific mechanisms to solicit funding for the expressway will be discussed and adopted by the government at its upcoming meeting, said Deputy PM Dung.