Source: Vientiane Times
Construction of the Vientiane-Pakxe expressway will go ahead after the government gives the green light for the proposed route, when feasibility studies on all sections of the highway will begin.
A member of the committee in charge of the Vientiane-Pakxe expressway project, Mr Kongphet Dalavone, told Vientiane Times they had submitted a proposed route for the expressway to the Prime Minister’s Office and were now waiting for approval.
The road will consist of five sections and runs parallel to Road No. 13 South. The first section runs for 126km from Nongpaen (450 Year Road) in Vientiane to Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province, where a feasibility study is already underway.
When this section is in use, travel time between Vientiane and Pakxan will be cut to 30-40 minutes compared to the 90 minutes it currently takes on Road No. 13 South, Mr Kongohet said.
Feasibility studies have not yet begun on the other four sections from Pakxan to Pakxe because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The total cost of the project will not be known until all the feasibility studies are completed.
Four contractors will be employed on the project, of which two are Lao companies and two are Chinese.
When complete, the Vientiane-Pakxe expressway will be the route of choice for southern travellers as journey times will be much quicker than using the existing Road No. 13 South, Mr Kongphet said. The Vientiane-Pakxe Expressway Construction Project is part of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan. The road will cut travel time to 6-7 hours from the 8-10 hours it currently takes using Road No. 13 South.
In the future, the expressway will link up with the planned Vientiane-Hanoi expressway, which will create a direct connection between the Lao and Vietnamese capitals. Feasibility studies for this route are already in progress.
The project is part of the government’s development policy to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land-linked country.
Meanwhile, the Vientiane-Vangvieng expressway is in use and is Phase I of the Vientiane-Boten expressway, which will link the Lao capital with Boten at the Chinese border.
The government recently also approved the route for Phase II of the expressway, which will link Vangvieng and Luang Prabang province