Upgrades to three main roads connecting to previously remote Xaysomboun province are mired in difficulties, mainly attributable to problems in sourcing state funds to complete them.
The main roads through large parts of the province are still unpaved which means they turn to mud whenever there has been a heavy shower.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong explained the difficulties when answering questions put by National Assembly (NA) members concerning road upgrades during the ongoing debate session.
Work to upgrade a 120 km section of road is currently facing financial difficulties.
The road is the main link from the Thabok area in Thaphabath district of Borikhamxay province to Xaysomboun province.
From Thabok, this road also links with National Road No. 1D in Borikhamxay’s Viengthong district, over a length of 56 km.
This 120km long road needs to be sealed to provide a route from Xaysomboun province to Vientiane through Thabok and then link to Xieng Khuang province via National Road No. 1D, Dr Bounchan said.
Two other main routes will be surfaced with gravel but some sections of these roads passing through villages or over mountains will be sealed with asphalt.
The roads linking to Xaysomboun run from the provinces of Vientiane, Borikhamxay and Xieng Khuang. An NA member for Xaysomboun said there were other road links but most were tortuous.
Dr Bounchan said they planned to rebuild a 60km road between the Naphaeng area in Vientiane province and Xaysomboun province, and work was currently underway.
There are also other road links planned from Vientiane province to Xieng Khuang province via Xaysomboun province, for which a loan is being sought from the Chinese government.
Speaking at a national meeting on communications, transport, posts and construction in 1991, former President Kaysone Phomvihane said road building was key to ensuring economic development for both the Party and the state.
Today the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is prioritising the development of roads to link Laos with other countries in the region through the East-West and North-South Economic Corridors.
Road upgrades and new road construction in Vientiane and the provinces, especially roads leading to border crossings, roads linking provinces, and access roads to villages and new development areas, will help substantially in furthering rural development.
Source: Vientiane Times