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Govt Approves Bokeo-Boten Expressway Linking China, Thailand

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has approved the construction of an expressway running between Bokeo province and Boten, which will link China and Thailand through Laos.

The project was discussed at a design and survey meeting held in Bokeo on Wednesday, which was attended by the Governor of Bokeo province, Dr Buakhong Nammavong. The route taken by the expressway is now being planned.

During the meeting, Director of the Design Survey for the Bokeo-Boten Expressway, Mr Liu Jingwei, said a survey of the route through Bokeo is now taking place and the possible impacts of the project are being assessed.

The Bokeo-Boten Expressway has been approved by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. It will run from Boten at the Laos-China border in Luang Namtha province to the Lao-Thai border in Huayxai district, Bokeo province.

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Construction of the 176.3km expressway is expected to cost US$3.8 billion. It will enable vehicles to travel at 80km per hour and will cut the travel time between Boten and Huayxai to just one and a half hours.

Dr Buakhong said the expressway will speed up the transport of goods between provinces and neighbouring countries.

The company that is financing the project should ensure the expressway is designed in a way that has a low impact on local residents and the environment, while construction should create jobs for local people, he added.

The project is yet another milestone in the government’s bid to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land link within the region.

In addition, surveys of the next three sections of the Laos-China Expressway, which is being built between Vientiane and Boten at the Chinese border in Luang Namtha province, have been completed.

The expressway runs for a distance of 440km and comprises four sections. The first stage between Vientiane and Vangvieng district in Vientiane province has been built and is in use.

Section 2 will run between Vangvieng and Luang Prabang province, section 3 will link Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces, and section 4 will run from Oudomxay to the Chinese border.

Surveys of sections 2, 3 and 4 have been completed, according to the Laos-China Joint Expressway Development Co., Ltd.

The contractor estimates it will take 10 years to build the next three sections from Vangvieng district in Vientiane province to the Chinese border in Luang Namtha province, at a cost of US$6 billion.

Section 2 will cost about US$3.2 billion, section 3 will cost US$2.89 billion, and section 4 will cost US$1.6 billion.

In the south, construction of the Vientiane-Pakxe Expressway will go ahead after the government gives the green light to the proposed route and after feasibility studies on all sections have taken place.

This road will consist of five sections and run parallel to Road No. 13 South.

The first section will run for 126km from Nongpaen (450 Road) in Vientiane to Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province.

The expressway will link up with the planned Vientiane-Hanoi expressway, which will create a direct connection between the Lao and Vietnamese capitals.