The six lane Thu Thiem Tunnel connecting Districts 1 and 2 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, will open to traffic next month and is expected to ease traffic flow from the western to eastern side of the city.

The 1.49km tunnel passes under the Sai Gon River has two middle lanes for cars and buses and one side lane for motorbikes from 6am to 9pm and for heavy lorries for the rest of the day.

The VND13.4tn ($642m) tunnel is part of Ho Chi Minh City’s East-West highway project.

The speed limit for cars and buses have been set at 30km per hour and a maximum of 60km per hour, while the maximum speed for motorbikes has been stipulated at 40km per hour.

The highway’s construction started in January 2005 and funded by $189m fund from Japanese ODA while the construction was carried out by a consortium of four Japanese contractors: Obayashi Corporation, Taisei Corporation, the Kumagai-Kajima consortium and Toa Corporation.