Vietnam has opened $189m Thu Thiem tunnel built under the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City and VDN16tn ($762m) East-West Highway.

Thu Thiem Tunnel has length of 1.49km, width of 33m, height of 9m, with six traffic lanes.

The tunnel was funded by Japan and constructed by a consortium of four Japanese contractors: Obayashi, Taisei, Kumagai-Kajima consortium and Toa.

Thu Thiem Tunnel connects the new urban area of Thu Thiem in District 2 with downtown Ho Chi Minh city in District 1.

The 22km East-West Highway runs from the Cat Lai crossroads in District 2 through districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and Binh Tan to National Highway 1A in Binh Chanh District. It reduces travelling time between the east and west of the city to just 20 minutes.

Work on the project began in 1997 and was part-funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with the remaining funds provided by the city.