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Vientiane-Boten Expressway: Phase 2 Takes Off After Vangvieng Success

Source: Vientiane Times

The survey and preliminary design of an expressway planned between Vangvieng district in Vientiane province and Luang Prabang province has been completed.

This marks a major step in moving forward with Phase 2 of the construction of an expressway linking Vientiane and Boten on the Chinese border.

Phase 1 of the Laos-China expressway was completed in 2021 with the construction of a 109-km highway running north from Vientiane to Vangvieng.

Speaking at the 2023 Transport Works Summary Meeting, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Mr. Lan Sengaphone said considerable attention has been paid to the construction of arterial highways and the completion of the planned expressway link between Vientiane and Boten.

The expressway built between the capital and Vangvieng represents only 9.3 percent of the total length of the Vientiane-Boten expressway, which will be 1,097.15 km in length.

Construction of the Vientiane-Boten expressway has been divided into four phases.

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The first phase has been completed. Phase 2, from Vangvieng to Luang Prabang, has reached the end of the survey and preliminary design stage. Phase 3, from Luang Prabang to Oudomxay, is in the process of drawing up development cooperation agreements with investors.

With regard to Phase 4, from Oudomxay to Boten, a Memorandum of Understanding on construction has been signed with investors but is now in the process of being renewed and updated.

The Vientiane to Vangvieng section of the expressway has proved to be extremely popular as it cut travel time between the capital and the tourist hotspot from about 3.5 hours to just one hour, making a return journey to the riverside town possible in just one day.

The Vientiane-Vangvieng section of the China-Laos expressway was the first highway in Laos to be jointly funded by the Lao government and China’s Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding (YCIH) Group.

YCIH has a 95 percent investment stake in the project while the Lao government contributed 5 percent of the cost.

The expressway will be operated under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model for a period of 50 years.