The Vientiane to Vang Vieng expressway did not open for use yesterday, despite hopes it would launch by National Day on 2 December.
Motorists flocked to Vang Vieng yesterday on the occasion of the country’s 45th National Day, a public holiday. Several took to social media complaining they were not approved to drive on the expressway, with the new road failing to open on 2 December as planned.
The completed expressway, which stretches some 113 kilometers, was to be officially handed over to the Lao government on the occasion of the 45th National Day yesterday and would be toll-free during its first two days of operation.
The Vientiane to Vang Vieng expressway linking the nation’s capital with the resort town of Vang Vieng is expected to be ready for use by the end of the year.
The expressway will allow motorists to travel at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour, linking the flat stretches from Naxaythong District in Vientiane Capital with Phonhong, Hin Heub and Vang Vieng districts in Vientiane Province.
The USD 1.2 billion dollar expressway project began at the end of 2018 and was scheduled for completion in 2021, however, it is now 90 percent complete, ahead of schedule.
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 charged at approximately 550 kip per kilometer, meaning around LAK 60,000 for a one-way trip from Vientiane to Vang Vieng, cutting the travel time to under two hours.