Upgrade of the 114-km National Road No. 4B from Hongsa district in Xayaboury province to Chomphet district in Luang Prabang province is proceeding slowly but is expected to be completed on schedule.
The upgrade of the northern road has been in progress for several months, beginning in Hongsa district.
A Luang Prabang official, who did not wish to be named, told Vientiane Times on Friday it would take 32 months to resurface the road with a double layer of asphalt but the work would be completed before the deadline.
The work is a little bit slow because this road is in a mountainous area, but we should have the whole 114km finished by 2018, he said.
The government has borrowed 1,977 million baht from Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) to upgrade the road.
Eighty percent of the money has been provided through a low-interest loan and 20 percent is in the form of a grant.
The Lao government signed a loan agreement with Thailand at the end of 2014.
The upgrade is so far 11 percent complete. The road is open but motorists but will find travel difficult. However, when the road is finished in 2018 it will be the quickest route between Hongsa and Chomphet districts.
The road will end at the Mekong riverbank in Chomphet district where a bridge will span the river.
The main town in Chomphet district has been relocated as the Xiengman area where the town was situated was in a valley and could not be further developed. The new urban area is now about 6km away. The township moved from the Xiengman area alongside the Mekong River, opposite downtown Luang Prabang.
The upgrade of Road No. 4B will help to spur investment in industry, agriculture, tourism and cross-border trade.
It will also provide a better road link with Thailand and Vietnam, facilitating tourism growth.
A Thai news report said Road No. 4B is a key transportation link between Thailand and Laos through the Huay Kon-Nam Ngeun border crossing in Chaloem Phra Kiat district, Nan province, and Xayaboury province. From there the road runs to Luang Prabang, Laos’ top tourist destination.
In terms of regional road links, there are five bridges crossing the Mekong. Four link Laos and Thailand while another connects Laos and Myanmar.
Source: Vientiane Times