A recent report of the Ministry of Public Works and Transports asserts that the Laos-China Railway Construction Project will greatly contribute to the Lao PDR’s economic infrastructure and help it meet its vision of transforming from a landlocked to a land-linked country.
The project will also help achieve the external cooperation and connectivity strategies the government has envisioned having with other ASEAN member countries and China.
The report was disseminated to the authorities of the Xekong Information, Culture and Tourism Department last Friday through a meeting on the Laos-China Railway Construction project aiming to give the provincial senior officials a better understanding of the project.
The railway project will be an important tool in attracting foreign investment thus resulting in increased capital, the availability of modern technology, and competent human resources in Laos.
It will also help promote cooperation in trade, people to people exchanges, tourism, reduce production costs, create jobs and contribute to the sustainable development of the country, according to the report.
Construction of a historic railway linking Vientiane to the Chinese border over a distance of 427 km began in December of last year.
The designed speed for the passenger trains will be 160 km/h, while the speed of 200 km/h will be applied in the flat terrain areas between Vang Vieng and Vientiane Capital.
The major construction activities include 175.5 km of subgrade, 170 bridges with total length of 69.2 km, and 72 tunnels with total length of 183.9 km, the longest of which being about 9.5 km and named the Lao-China Friendship Tunnel. This tunnel is currently under construction at the Lao-China border in Luang Namtha.
The total estimated project cost is about US$13.6 million per kilometer.
Once the US$6-billion railway is fully built, it will supplement Laos’ vision of turning itself from a land-locked to a land-linked country.
The government has allocated almost 5 billion kip (over US$600,000) for authorities to finance work in the payment of compensation to those who will lose land when the Laos-China railway is built.
However, the actual payments will be carried out by the joint venture company that is building the railway from a project budget of almost US$6 billion.