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Flash Flooding Hampers Heavy Vehicle Movement On South Road

Heavy vehicle crossings on the Namthone Bridge on the No.13 South Road have been temporarily suspended after heavy rains caused landslides and flash flooding in Borikhamxay province over the weekend.

The Department of Public Works and Transport said the landslide along the bridge that links the southern provinces to Borikhamxay and Vientiane posed a risk to its structure, and heavy vehicles would not be able to use the bridge until further notice.

Empty buses are allowed to cross the bridge if passengers disembark and walk over to the opposite side in order to avoid too much strain from excessive weight.  The landslide and flooding occurred after heavy rain began early on Sunday and continued throughout the day.

Floodwaters created difficulties for those who use the No.13 South Road, one of the country’s main economic corridors, forcing commuters to take another route. Many areas along the road in Borikhamxay experienced heavy rain, particularly the Km 20 junction road, where flood levels reached about 1.2m, cutting off transport and affecting housing and rice paddies.

Flash Flooding Hampers Heavy Vehicle Movement On South Road
The Km 20 junction road in Borikhamxay province was one of the most flood-affected areas on Sunday

The flood impacted about one kilometre of road and delayed a number of buses.

Health official Mr Xang, who was due to travel with his team to Saravan province on Sunday, told Vientiane Times the flood forced his team to return to Borikhamxay for the night before they could set off again the next morning.

“Luckily, we decided to move back quickly after the water began to the rise. Many cars were waiting in a long line to travel to the south and some got stuck there. If we didn’t retreat in our car we would have been caught in the middle of the flood, like one bus,” he said.

Road conditions returned to normal yesterday, while low-lying areas with houses and rice paddies remain under threat from flooding. According to some residents, flood levels were higher than what was officially recorded. Villagers explained the flood flash was higher than the record for the area. They have been told to remain alert, with rain continuing to fall and floodwaters not yet totally receded.

Residents living in the low-lying areas around the Xebangfai River in Khammuan province have also been put on notice of possible rising water levels.

The weather bureau has warned drivers to check up-to-date information on current conditions before making the journey on the Road No.13 South.

published with the permission of Vientiane Times