Construction of an expressway linking Vientiane to Vang Vieng is now 70 percent complete and is expected to be ready for use at the end of this year.
According to a report in the Vientiane Times, the Head of the Management Committee of the Vientiane-Vang Vieng Expressway, Khattiyasack Chaiyavong, said that the project will be officially handed over before National Day (2 December) this year.
The road, which stretches some 113 kilometers, has had the first layer of asphalt laid on over 50 kilometers so far.
The excavation of a tunnel through Phoupha Mountain has also been completed, and electricity is now being installed.
The expressway project began construction in late 2018 and was scheduled for completion in 2021, however, it is now ahead of schedule.
The Vientiane-Vang Vieng expressway will shave 43 kilometers off the existing route by tunneling some 900 meters through Phoupha Mountain.
Chinese investors will operate the expressway under a 50-year concession agreement, with the Lao government holding a five percent stake.
The expressway toll is expected to be approximately 550 kip per kilometer, meaning around 60,000 kip for a one-way trip from Vientiane to Vang Vieng.
Motorists will be allowed to travel at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour on the expressway.
The Vientiane-Vang Vieng expressway is the first section of the planned Vientiane-Boten expressway, which the Lao government and the Chinese developer, a state construction enterprise from Yunnan province, plan to jointly build to link Vientiane with the northern province of Luang Namtha, which borders China.