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Laos-Vietnam road link fails to meet schedule
Publication Date : 24-04-2012
Construction of the 212 km road linking Laos' Xekong province to the Vietnamese border has been delayed and will not be finished by the 2013 schedule, according to a project official.
Work on the project began in 2009, but to date only 47 percent of the road has been completed.
If the project was running to schedule 80 percent of the road would now be complete, according to project head Mr Bounchanh Sengdara.
He added that the contract for the project expires in 2013, at which point a summary of the work will be made and a new plan will be set, including a projected completion date.
At the outset, the government authorised the Tonghomsombath Con-struction Company to invest more than 370 billion kip (US$44 million) in the project.
The company agreed to initially finance the construction, and the government is set repay the cost over a nine-year period.
Construction has been delayed because of budget constraints and a shortage of vehicles. No one knows exactly when the road will be completed, including six bridges, Bounchanh sai d.
The project has also been plagued by extreme weather conditions, including landslides in the rainy season.
At present the weather is good so work is continuing.
The width of the road varies from 6.5 metres at its narrowest to 11 metres at its widest on the approach to Xekong provincial capital, where it will also have street lighting and drainage channels on both sides to prevent flooding.
Mr Bounchanh said the project is important because it will improve the quality of life in rural communities and encourage private investment in the area.
Without road access it is hard for people in remote areas to improve their living standards, he said.
The road upgrade will also help to develop Xekong's urban areas, especially the provincial capital and Dakcheung district.
The existing road leading from Xekong's main urban area to Dakcheung district is very rough and dusty and conditions are very difficult in the rainy season, hindering commerce and development.
Road construction is a priority of the government to facilitate development and remove Laos from the list of least developed countries.