Work has begun on a VND1tn ($55m) project to expand the Rach Chiec Bridge in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.

The bridge, part of the Ha Noi Highway, links the city’s District 2 with District 9.

The project involves expanding the bridge into a 735.8m long, ten-lane bridge and includes building approach roads of 295m in District 2 and 215.8m in District 9.

The first phase, to build two new sections alongside the existing bridge, is expected to finish by 2010 end.

The second phase, to replace the old bridge in the middle and join the entire structure into a single wider bridge, is expected to finish in 2013.

The city department of finance has transferred the right of toll collection to HCM City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company, which will finance the cost of the project, to be repaid from toll collections.

Work will be carried out by Thang Long Construction and Cienco 1.