The government is considering approval of the proposed route for an expressway running from Vientiane Capital to Pakse in the nation’s south.
Following the government’s approval of the proposed route, a feasibility study for each section of the expressway will be conducted.
Vientiane Times reports that a member of the committee heading up the expressway project has submitted a proposed route to the Prime Minister’s Office and is now awaiting approval.
According to the report, the road will include five sections and will run parallel to Route 13 South.
The first section will run 126km from Nongpaen (450 Year Road) in Vientiane Capital to Paksan district, Bolikhamxay Province.
This section will cut travel time between the capital and Pakxan by more than an hour, while the following sections running from Paksan to Pakse have yet to see feasibility studies conducted due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The total cost of the project has not yet been revealed, while four contractors are to be employed, including two Lao companies and two Chinese firms.
According to project experts, the later sections of the expressway could consist of the following:
Phase 1: Paksane (Vientiane-Hanoi intersection) – Thakhaek (Road No. 12 Intersection) (164km)
Phase 2: Thakhaek (Road No. 12 Intersection) – Savannakhet (Road No. 9 Intersection) (117km)
Phase 3: Savannakhet (Road No. 9 Intersection) – Salavanh (Road No. 18 Intersection) (128km)
Phase 4: Salavanh (Road No. 18 Intersection) – Paksé (82km)
The Vientiane to Pakse Expressway Construction Project comes under the National Socio-Economic Development Plan, cutting travel time to just seven hours from the current travel time of up to ten hours along Route 13 South.
The expressway is expected to link with the planned Vientiane to Hanoi expressway project, directly connecting the capital cities of Laos and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, following the success of the Vientiane to Vang Vieng Expressway, the government has given the green light for a planned Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang expressway, reducing travel time between the two tourist towns.
The newly approved expressway is part of a larger scheme to link Vientiane with China by road.