Work has started on the second stage of the feasibility study into plans to build a $285m road tunnel, which includes a 1.7km stretch under the Saigon River, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The 7.8 km long tunnel will contain a dual two-lane carriageway.

The investigation, financed by Japan’s Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, will consider linking District 1 with the Thu Thiem Peninsula. The report will form the basis of a formal agreement to enable Japan to lend Vietnam cash to finance tunnel construction.

Construction tenders are likely to be called next spring, provided the lending agreement is signed by the end of this year. Construction will start by the end of 2001, with completion in three years.The scheme is likely to force the resettlement of 4000 families, which live mainly on the Thu Thiem Peninsula.