Lao Economy

Council Gives Green Light To Proposed Vientiane Highway

Source: Vientiane Times

The Vientiane People’s Council has approved a proposal for the construction of a 14-km highway submitted by city authorities in a bid to ease traffic congestion.

The six-lane highway will be built parallel to Kaysone Phomvihane Road.

The planned road will be 70 metres wide and run from the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC) in Xaysettha district to Dongmakkhai village in Xaythany district.

An official in charge of the project, Dr Bouavone Souklasaeng, told Vientiane Times yesterday that following approval by the Vientiane People’s Council, the project would be submitted to the government for final approval before any construction could begin.

Construction is expected to start this year following government approval with completion slated for 2019.

Project officials will seek funding from several sources in the form of low-interest loans. Dr Bouavone said the cost of the project was estimated at between US$150 million to US$200 million.

It is recommended that investment take the form of a Public Private Partnership. The first option would see the state provide 70 percent of the funding and the private sector 30 percent. Another option is for the state to contribute 60 percent of the cost and the private sector 30 percent, while local people would contribute 10 percent by giving up their land.

Under the second option, project officials would ask people whose land would be needed to give up their property, and in return they would receive a dividend from the project each year. Over the 14 kilometres of its length, the highway will link with the several key roads including Road No. 13 and the 450 Year Road. It would also link to the Laos-China railway when it is built.

Project components include a water distribution channel along the road and the construction of associated infrastructure.

People who would need to move to make way for the road would be relocated to new houses near the 450 Year Road, which will be built for them on an area of 20 hectares.

Vientiane authorities will ensure that construction impacts local communities and the environment as little as possible and will avoid areas of environmental importance.

The new highway will ease the burden on existing roads, provide safe driving conditions, and be of high quality, all of which will save motorists time, Vientiane authorities told the Vientiane People’s Council on Wednesday.

Project officials are also discussing the road toll that motorists would pay, with the price to be announced before the official opening of the highway, Dr Bouavone added.