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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Vientiane Authorities Clarify Pedestrian Bridge Construction After Online Complaints

This Week

Head of the Department of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Soulivanh Phommahaxay, recently spoke to residents about the construction of a pedestrian bridge at “LAK 5” on Kaysone Phomvihane Avenue in Vientiane Capital, following concerns raised on social media.

Mr. Soulivanh clarified the situation after news reports appeared on online criticizing the erection of a fence surrounding the footbridge construction site in Phonphanao Village, causing traffic congestion.

He explained that authorities had installed the fence to block the road for the construction of the pedestrian bridge. The fence was put in place to avoid any disturbance from vehicles on the street and for safety purposes.

But residents have complained of inadequate signage, insufficient monitoring of the site to ensure safety, and a lack of information regarding the project provided to the public.  Many have also questioned the loss of access to the footpath in the area, leaving pedestrians to walk on the road.

In his address, Mr. Soulivanh emphasized that the construction of the pedestrian bridge was aimed at facilitating safe passage for students and pedestrians crossing the road in the area and eliminating difficulties that pedestrians had faced in the past.

However, Mr. Soulivanh did not mention whether the pedestrian bridge would cater to the accessibility needs of people with disabilities, such as the incline and width of the ramps, as well as the positioning and texture of the handrails on the bridge.

He also failed to explain how the safety of motorists and pedestrians would be ensured during construction without the use of safety signage, traffic cones, or a signal person to direct traffic.

While acknowledging that the construction may cause some temporary inconvenience, Mr. Soulivanh called on members of society to understand and cooperate with the process. He urged the public to refrain from being critical and unconstructive, which could lead to unnecessary conflicts and issues.

Additionally, Mr. Soulivanh explained that the footbridge project aligns with the government’s socioeconomic development plan from 2021-2025. He also noted that the pedestrian bridge at LAK 5 is one of four pedestrian bridges that Bluegrass Design Group Co. plans to construct.

Other locations in Vientiane slated for pedestrian bridges include Dong Dok road to T4 road and from Khua Din Market to the Morning market.

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