Peak Hour Gridlock Returns to Vientiane Capital

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Traffic jam in Vientiane Capital
Large numbers of vehicles on the roads in Vientiane Capital (Photo: Security News)

With the reopening of schools and businesses as Covid cases fall, Vientiane Capital is once again experiencing crippling traffic jams during peak hours.

According to the Traffic Police Department, traffic is often backed up along major roads from 7:30 am to 9 am, and again from 4:30 pm to 6 pm on weekdays.

Authorities say that the 450-year-old city features narrow roads that cannot be expanded, while motorists continue to park their cars near markets, shops, and restaurants along major roads, causing congestion.

In addition, residents habitually use sidewalks for selling goods, placing construction materials, or parking their cars, blatantly ignoring no-parking signage, according to police.

Meanwhile, school and office hours remain the same, while bus routes and other forms of public transportation are lacking.

A police officer. directs traffic along Lane Xang Avenue in Vientiane Capital
A police officer. directs traffic along Lane Xang Avenue in Vientiane Capital

Traffic police admit that while private companies are responsible for paid parking, their department has not done a good job of inspection or enforcement.

According to police, driving habits among many motorists in Laos remain poor, with drivers regularly failing to indicate when turning, running red lights, and refusing to give right of way.

Regulatory gaps in traffic laws also remain a problem, while enforcement is often ineffective.

To try to resolve the issue, police have urged motorists to pay more attention to traffic regulations, and have pledged to step up enforcement, ensuring violators are appropriately punished.