In a move to address the issue of deteriorating roads, the government has pledged to bolster its efforts by increasing funding for road maintenance and implementing stringent regulations on heavy vehicles, particularly those associated with mining operations.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Ngampasong Muongmany outlined the strategy during a session at the 6th Ordinary Session of the 9th National Assembly Legislature this week.
Ngampasong emphasized that the National Assembly is aware of widespread road damage and recognized the need for immediate action.
The current annual allocation for road maintenance and emergency repairs stands at LAK 700 million (around USD 33,714). Amount that covers the repairs for approximately 6,500 km (out of 46,000 km of the whole country) of national highways and roads, encompassing both urban centers and local communities,
According to Logistics Capacity Assessments (LCA), an evaluation process aimed at understanding the contextual logistics infrastructure and services in a country or region to facilitate the effective implementation of humanitarian relief operations, merely 28 percent of roads are paved, with over 60 percent of the total national roads categorized as being in poor or bad condition.
To address this issue, the government is working to improve technical standards and increase the number of weighing stations across the country, of which only 14 are currently in operation. These stations serve as regulatory checkpoints for heavily loaded trucks, ensuring compliance with stipulated weight limits.
Alongside the regulations, Ngampasong pledged a significant boost to the road repair fund. However, he openly discussed the challenges in allocating funds, pointing to the persistent issue of insufficient resources, which was worsened by the depreciation of the Lao kip currency and the growing number of roads.