Overpass Mulled As Solution To Vientiane’s Traffic Snarls

Officials are wrestling with the problem of identifying a long-term solution to Vientiane’s chronic traffic jams and some are suggesting that an overpass might ease the situation.

While no such scheme currently exists, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility to imagine that overpasses will one day be built in Laos’ larger urban centres.

An official from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, who requested anonymity, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that this had been the only suggestion proposed in meetings to consider the issue.

However, the idea of an overpass is still only a figment of someone’s imagination and is not yet under serious consideration.

“There are roads in four or five districts of central Vientiane that we can widen, but in many places there is nothing we can do because there are too many buildings in the area,” the official said.

Traffic volumes have been building up significantly over the past four or five years, with the work day rush hours especially chaotic. But now some main streets are also heavily congested on Saturdays and Sundays as well.

Motorists repeatedly say traffic police are slow to respond and unable to tackle the situation efficiently.

The official suggested that a more efficient bus service would improve matters by reducing the number of private vehicles on the streets.

The traffic police must also exert a greater effort and station themselves on more streets and for longer hours, as well as stopping more vehicles for traffic violations.

In many places, congestion builds up because officials do not enforce the regulations.

On Monday morning this week the congestion was worse than usual because lots of people were gathering in Chao Anouvong Park to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Chao Anouvong statue.

This brought traffic to a standstill for about two hours on Fa Ngum, Samsenthai, Souphanouvong and adjoining roads. The problem occurred because officials closed Don Chan Road to regular traffic, thus making one of the city’s main thoroughfares unavailable.

The number of road users in Vientiane increases each year, and road construction has been unable to keep pace with the growing army of vehicles.

The Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department reported earlier this year that the number of registered vehicles stood at 661,6 12. With 850,000 people living in the city, this means that over 70 percent of the population possesses a vehicle of some kind.

Source: Vientiane Times

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