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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Officials Give Green Light to Vientiane Expressway Project

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In an attempt to ease city congestion, the government has given their blessing to move forward  on a proposed 14km Vientiane expressway project, linking the city center to the outskirts in Xaythany District.

Government spokesman Prof. Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher confirmed that the project was discussed last week at the government’s monthly meeting for February. The notion of the multi-million dollar project was presented and examined during the two-day meeting.

“In principle, the government agrees to build the expressway,” Prof. Dr Chaleun said.

The six-lane Vientiane expressway, with a planned width of 70 metres, will be built parallel to Kaysone Phomvihane Road and will run from the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC) in Xaysettha district to Dongmakkhai village in Xaythany district.

Amidst the 14 kilometre stretch of road, the interstate will also link with several key roads including Road No. 13, the 450 Year Road and the much anticipated Laos-China railway once it has reached completion.

However, before the construction of such a large project can begin, the relevant departments  have been required by officials to complete a thorough study and analysis to guarantee its effectiveness as the project would require a substantial investment and involve particular technical standards.

Once the study and analysis are complete, details of the Vientiane expressway project will be studied, deliberated and approved before it can be implemented, the spokesman announced.

vientiane expressway diagram
A model of the proposed Vientiane expressway

An estimated 87 houses will be affected by the expressway, while the rest of it will pass through farmland. Families who have to relocate to make way for the expressway will be compensated.

The estimated cost for this immense project is expected to be between US$150 million and US$200 million, relevant authorities were urged to look into methods of investment for funding before the conclusion of the meeting.  

Dr Bouavone Souklasaeng said that the road corridor is designed to avoid densely populated communities to minimize impact.

She explained that although the expressway will be built parallel to Kaysone Phomvihane Road, the two roads will have quite a bit of distance in between, so buildings, shops and businesses running along the Kaysone Phomvihane Road will remain unaffected.

It has been suggested in regard to funding for the project, to take the form of a Public Private Partnership, which in this case involves two likely scenarios.

According to Dr Bouavone, the first scenario would see the state provide 70 percent of the funding and the private sector 30 percent.

The second is for the state to contribute 60 percent of the cost and the private sector 30 percent, while local people whose properties are affected would contribute 10 percent by giving up their land.

If the second scenario were to happen, citizens affected by the expressway would receive a dividend from the project annually.

The Vientiane expressway is expected to be a toll road in which one car is  expected to pay about 5,000 kip per trip.

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