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Vientiane eyes measures to tackle traffic congestion

Vientiane authorities plan to deploy more traffic police on main roads in the capital as the city is suffering from serious traffic congestion, especially in the rush hour.

Mr Somsavat Lengsavad.

“Our short term plan to tackle traffic jams is to increase the number of traffic police. The police say they are shouldering a heavier work load at present,” Vientiane Vice Mayor Keophilavanh Amphaylath told Vientiane Times yesterday.

He made the comment after attending a special meeting to address traffic congestion in Vientiane.

Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad presided over the meeting, which was attended by officials from the Vientiane administration, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

The media can play a part in easing traffic congestion as it can circulate useful information and increase awareness of the need to comply with the regulations.

The government considers traffic jams in the capital to be a matter of urgency, and cooperation by all sectors concerned is required to find a solution.

Mr Keophilavanh said eight roads in particular suffer from heavy congestion in the rush hour. These include Lane Xang Avenue, and Setthathirath, Kaysone Phomvihane, Nongbone, Asean, Samsenthai and the 105-bed Hospital roads.

Officials attend a meeting to address traffic congestion in Vientiane.

He also suggested that a short term solution would be for the authorities to ban people from parking along main roads during the rush hour, to ease traffic flow.

Heavy trucks would be banned from entering the city centre in the rush hour and tuk-tuks would only be allowed to use certain lanes.

Mr Keophilavanh also said Vientiane would continue to consider building more car parks so that motorists have an alternative to parking on roadsides.

In the longer term, plans include the expansion of the downtown area, as this would mean that fewer people use the same small number of roads to reach their work place.

Vientiane would also improve public transport in the hope that more people would leave their vehicles at home instead of large numbers of commuters clogging the city's streets. The city would also set up a traffic management centre.

Another solution to the traffic chaos is for the Ministry of Education and Sports to add driver education to the school curriculum, so that young road users are taught the rules of the road.

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Lattanamany Khounivong said one of the main causes of traffic congestion is the rapid increase in the number of vehicles on the city's streets. At the same time extension of the road network building has been inadequate and has failed to accommodate the surge in vehicle numbers.

There are about 556,000 vehicles in Vientiane while the total population of the city is 850,000 people, according to the city authorities.

Mr Lattanamany said it was necessary to expand and improve roads to ensure smooth traffic flow. He also said the authorities should enforce the traffic and construction laws. Many people have built commercial property in areas where there are no car parks, forcing people to park on roadsides and blocking narrow streets.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 09, 2013)

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