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Vangvieng-Luang Prabang expressway route approved

The government recently gave its approval to the route of the planned Vangvieng-Luang Prabang expressway – a highway that will shorten the drive between the two tourist hotspots to about 90 minutes.
The go-ahead is another step towards the start of construction of the four-lane 136.9-km road.
No start date has yet been set because there are still more preparatory works to be done, according to a source from the Laos-China joint venture company that is overseeing construction of the road.

The developer is currently reporting the findings of a feasibility study to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and awaiting approval.
When it opens to traffic, the expressway will significantly cut travel time compared to a journey on the existing road, which takes many hours.
The expressway is part of the planned 460-km Vientiane-Boten expressway, which will link Vientiane to Boten at the Lao-Chinese border.
The Vientiane-Boten expressway comprises four sections -- Vientiane-Vangvieng, Vangvieng-Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang-Oudomxay and Oudomxay-Boten.
Construction of the Vangvieng-Luang Prabang section will follow on from the almost-completed first stage - the 109-km Vientiane-Vangvieng expressway. This road is expected to open for public use at the end of the year, with travel time also estimated at about 90 minutes.
Earlier this week, the developer and Oudomxay provincial authorities held a meeting to make decisions about the route that will run through the northern province, a senior official of the province’s Public Works and Transport Department, who attended the meeting, told Vientiane Times.
The meeting agreed in principle in the 113.9-km corridor linking Luang Prabang city and Xay district in Oudomxay province, with travel time also estimated at 90 minutes.
Upon approval of the corridor by local authorities, the developer will seek approval from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the government, the official said.
Several factors have been taken into account when making decisions and approving the route. The factors focus on minimising social and environmental impacts and maximising economic returns, the official said. During the meeting in Oudomxay, the developer described the final section of the expressway, which will link Oudomxay’s Xay district and Luang Namtha province’s Boten at the Lao-Chinese border over a distance of 81.09 km. The journey time on this section is estimated at about one hour, according to a provincial television broadcast of the meeting.
Once complete, it will take about five hours to drive between Vientiane and Boten on the 460-km Vientiane-Boten expressway.
The route forms part of the Mekong sub-region highway network and is an important component of the Laos-China economic corridor.
The Vientiane-Boten expressway will also connect to Asean Highway AH12 and will be part of the east Kunming-Bangkok highway, which is currently in the planning stages.


By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update
November 13,

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