Vietnam: Mekong Transport and Flood Protection Project

April 10, 2013


The upgraded Vietnam's backbone National Highway 1A connecting Ca Mau and Can Tho under the Mekong Transport and Flood Protection Project helps reduce congestion and segregate road traffic.

The Mekong Transport Project has upgraded and rehabilitated 362 km of national and provincial roads in the Mekong Delta, thus reducing travel time from the southernmost city of Ca Mau to the southernmost district of Nam Can to one hour from 3 hours before. Ambulances can now run on the Ca Mau – Nam Can section, providing quicker access to health services. The first bus route of Ca Mau province now connects remote areas to the city, providing cheaper transportation.


Traffic volumes on National Highway 1 (NH1), Vietnam‘s primary north-south thoroughfare, and other arterial roads were growing at 10-14 percent per year. Traffic growth outpaced road rehabilitation and more substantial investment was needed to reverse that trend, reduce congestion, and segregate road traffic through upgraded national road standards.

Moreover, there was a strong need for extending transport connectivity to rural populations in the Mekong Delta and ensuring permanent access to/from the seasonally-flooded region.


The World Bank funded project upgraded 180 kilometers of Highway 1 between Can Tho and Ca Mau in the Mekong Delta, and upgraded another 182 kilometers of national and provincial roads in the extended Mekong Delta transport system covering 18 provinces. These provided better road infrastructure, expanded access to the road and highway network in previously unconnected, underserved, and/or disruption-prone areas in both urban and rural settings, thus reducing transport and logistics costs for poor people in the Mekong Delta.

The project also provided technical assistance and capacity building towards updating road sector standards on design, construction, and safety while at the same time strengthening management and staffing capacity of the Ministry of Transport. Bank-financed infrastructure provision also promoted competitive and efficient project management practices that could contribute to the modernization of the domestic road construction industry.


The project stimulated the commercial use of an improved transportation network. As a result:

- The system now transports nearly 11,5 million tons of goods compared to over 7 million tons of good in 2005.

- Travel time from the Mekong regional center (Can Tho City) to Ca Mau (southern most province) was reduced from 3.5 hours to only over 1 hour, facilitating trade and access to market. 

- Fatal accident rate was reduced by 2/3, to 8/million vehicle-kilometre from 21/ million vehicle-kilometre without project intervention, while normal injuries were reduced by ¾.


" The project has provided people of Ca Mau an improved transportation system, so now even people in the remote province can go to the province center quicker and cheaper. Now ambulances help save more lives because they can travel to remote areas. "

Duong Tien Dung

Vice Chairman of Ca Mau province

Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank’s IDA provided US$ 142.97 million out of the total cost of US$ 218.5 million to upgrade Highway 1 between Can Tho, Ca Mau and Nam Can in the Mekong Delta, and the protection of 39 km of Highway 1 in central Vietnam from flooding.

The project also supported the strengthening of the Ministry of Transport’s management, including the planning, monitoring, and organizational functions, as well as the provision of information technology (IT) resources; implementation of new road and bridge design standards; enhancement of road safety audit, blackspot treatment, and heavy traffic


The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) supported the rehabilitation of longer bridges through parallel financing, along the sections of the Highway 1 upgraded and rehabilitated by the project.

Increase in the transport of commercial goods through the improved system.