Road 13 South safety under scrutiny
There are no almost safety barriers to protect road users along Road 13 South, which runs for about 847 kilometres from Vientiane to Attapeu province via Borikamxay, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan and Champassak provinces.
Along the route there are many sections of winding road where motorists can lose control, particularly in poor weather conditions, and the lack of safety barriers only serves to make the road more dangerous.
An official from the Khammuan provincial Public Works and Transport Department, MrThongkhenSingthongbounmavong, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that he was unaware of any plan to erect more safety barriers along Road 13 South.
“Many sections of the road have white lines down the middle and turning area indicators but there are not many barriers,” he said.
MrThongkhen added that 80 or 90 percent of the streets in Thakhaek district, Khammuan province, had been paved with asphalt and concrete but other urban areas in the province had yet to receive road upgrades .
Each year, many accidents occur along Road 13 South, mostly caused by drivers travelling at excessive speeds or unanticipated collisions with wandering livestock.
A Vientiane resident who recently travelled to Savannakhet province, which is a distance of about 450 kilometres from the capital, said the road can be quite hazardous with a large number of vehicles travelling at unsafe speeds.
He said many motorists prefer to travel at night when there are fewer vehicles and animals on the road.
Despite there being no official plans for the erection of safety barriers, it is possible they will be installed along some sections in the future.
According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, there are plans to alter parts of Road 13 North and South to make them into two- and four-lane highways, starting from Vientiane.
A study on tollway development has just been concluded and the ministry is assessing the pros and cons of upgrading the arterial highway to cater for the increasing volume of traffic.
Road 13 North may be rebuilt from the Sikeut junction in Vientiane to the bus station in Vangvieng district, a distance of 142 kilometres.
Also under consideration is a plan to make 57km of the road, running from the Sikeut junction to Phonhong district in Vientiane province, into a four-lane highway, followed by an 85km two-lane stretch from there to Vangvieng, all of which would be asphalted.
On Road 13 South, the starting point is identified as the Dongdok intersection in Vientiane with redevelopment all the way to Sivilay village in Borikhamxay province, a total length of 141km.
(Latest Update January 18, 2017)