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Monday, June 17, 2024

NA Approves Draft Amendment to Law on Public Roads

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Land reserved for public roads, the unit price of public road construction projects, road classification, road funds, and road construction management are some of the main points in the Law on Public Roads that need clarification.

These were the points noted by at least 10 National Assembly (NA) members when speaking yesterday during a debate on the draft amendment to the law.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport decided to amend the law after it was promulgated 17 years ago. The current law has 46 articles.

Although the delimitation for public roads is determined in the current law, the precise measurement is unclear, it was noted. Delimitation most commonly refers to the width of a road from its centre to a point beyond the width allocated for use by traffic.

The draft amendment defines the delimitation width for national public roads as being 25 metres from the centre, 15 metres for provincial public roads, 10 metres for district public roads, and 5 metres for rural public roads.

NA members also wanted the delimitation measurement to be specified for national public roads in flat land and mountainous areas, saying a width of 25 metres long was possible on flat land but would be hard to enforce in mountainous areas.

They referred to the situation along National Road No.13 North, for example, where the roofs on some houses extend out to the road.

Fully 105 of the 120 NA members present voted to approve the draft amendment, which contains 99 articles. Thirteen members voted not to approve it, and two were neutral.

Public road activities, standards, calculations for surveys, designs, construction and maintenance, road funds, and road management were all required to be clarified in the amendment.

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Lattanamany Khounnivong, representing the drafting sub-committee, welcomed all comments from NA members, saying the committee would take them into account when improving the law.

He agreed with NA members’ proposal that road tolls be predetermined before the construction or upgrade of any public road. The toll would depend on how much was invested by the private sector and the proportion of government participation in the project, Mr Lattanamany said, mentioning the public-private partnership model.

The approved draft also determined a height of 5 metres as the delimitation airspace above roads, which is close to the delimitation height of 4.5 metres approved as the regional standard.

Concerning the underground delimitation, the law states that it exists for safety purposes and related features such as an underground walkway, water pipes, power transmission lines, telephone cables, and gas pipes can be placed there with permission from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

These matters could not be determined in detail by this law as is the case in developed countries, because if we do this law would not be enforceable due to the lack of facilitating circumstances, the deputy minister said.

Source: Vientiane Times

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