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World Bank approves upgrade of key arterial road

The World Bank has approved a project that aims to improve National Road No. 13 as part of efforts to create better conditions for people living along and using this primary corridor.
The bank made the announcement last week after its executive directors agreed to approve the project, which is designed to improve the condition, safety, and climate resilience of critical sections of National Road 13, one of the most important corridors in Laos.
The road serves as the main transport route linking the north and south of Laos.  Unfortunately, many parts of this road have been damaged and have not been rehabilitated since the main sections were completed in 1997.
Due to the poor conditions, the road now requires major improvements to keep up with the growth in use, and increasing traffic volumes mean its upgrade has become essential. Some sections, especially those around Vientiane, are expected to reach maximum capacity in the next five years as traffic rapidly increases.
The improvement of the road will create better conditions for the more than 500,000 people who live along this corridor, enabling them to more easily access markets, jobs and public services, according to a media release from the World Bank.
The National Road 13 Improvement and Maintenance Project will be implemented from 2018 to 2023.
It will receive US$40 million in financing from the International Development Association, the bank said in the media release.
The project will also receive co-financing of US$40 million, US$38.5 million, and US$9.5 million from, respectively, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Government of the Lao PDR, and the Nordic Development Fund.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport will implement the project, using an Output and Performance-Based Road contract to support more efficient use of funds.
The project will first focus on the high traffic corridor outside of Vientiane from Sikeut to Phonhong (km 12-70), which is currently the country’s busiest stretch of road, and also vulnerable to severe flooding.
“National Road 13 is vital to our economy, and its upgrade, rehabilitation and maintenance will broaden access to markets, jobs and public services, while also making travel safer. An improved National Road 13 brings Laos closer to its goal of more inclusive growth,” said Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, as quoted in the media release.
“Roads facilitate economic growth. Safer roads, more reliable access, and reduced travel time can improve Laos’ business climate, strengthen integration between urban and rural markets, and create more jobs,” World Bank Director for Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, Ellen Goldstein, said.
“As the World Bank support will improve efficiency in managing road assets, and provide a model for public-private partnership, it may also incentivise the private sector to invest in roads in the future,” she added.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update
May 21,

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