The expressway that will link the Lao capital of Vientiane with Vang Vieng , a populat tourism district in Vientiane province, is 40 percent complete.
The Lao government official in charge of the project informed the local media on the 24th that the 113.5-kilometer road was started in April 2018 and is expected to take three years to complete. Lao officials are reviewing the implementation of the project and considering potential problems in the implementation process.
Compared with the existing North 13th Highway, the Vientiane- Vangvieng Expressway will shorten the distance between the two places by 43km through a 679-meter-long tunnel on the Phoupha Mountain. Once traffic passes, road users will be charged a service fee, and the existing North 13 road will continue to be free. Road users are expected to pay 550 kip per kilometer or approximately 62,000 kip per way.
Chinese investors will operate the 50-year concession project with estimated cost of USD1.2 billion with the Lao government holding five percent share.According to reports, the Vientiane- Vangvieng Expressway will be developed in parallel with the North 13th Highway and the China-Laos Railway under construction, connecting the Sikeuth Village in Naxaithong County, Vientiane, with Vangvieng.
According to an earlier report, the design speeds on the expressway are set at 100 km per hour along the flat stretches between Sikeuth village in Vientiane and Phonhong district in Vientiane province, and at 80 km per hour between Phonhong and Vang Vieng district where there are more mountainous sections.
Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an agreement to develop the Vientiane- Vangvieng Expressway project during his state visit to Laos in 2017. The Vientiane- Vangvieng Expressway is the first part of the proposed Vientiane- Boten Expressway, which runs from Vientiane to the northern provinces and extends to the Boten.