Vang Vieng could be by 2021 only 90 minutes away from Vientiane by car as Chinese are now building a new highway which will in the future link Laos capital to the North of the country.
The project of a highway in Laos was approved last year by the Laotian government in May. But a concession agreement for the construction and management of the future four-lane highway was signed only recently.
The Laos-China Joint Expressway Development, China Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group (“YCIH”) and the Lao Planning and Investment Ministry signed the concession agreement on April 6.
The Laos-China Joint Expressway Development, a joint venture between the Lao government and the YCIH, is to invest, construct and operate the expressway project on basis of “BOT” (Build-Operate-Transfer) in accordance with the Concession Agreement.
The highway is part of the envisioned Vientiane-Boten expressway that the government wants to develop. It will stretch over 450 km linking Luang Namtha province to Vientiane and will then be the first full closed expressway in Laos and a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Once finished, the 113.7-km corridor linking Vientiane to Vang Vieng will put both destinations at only 90 minutes from each other compared to three to four hours these days. It will also help to cut down the travel time between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The ride between both cities actually last over seven hours.
The project is expected to improve the living standards of residents along the road and deepen the cooperation and communication between China and Laos.
YCIH his confident that the project will be completed on time and would then serve as a base to further highways development in the country. The investment is estimated to top Us$1.5 billion as it includes a 679-metre tunnel at Phoupha Mountain, which will help to make the new expressway shorter than the existing Road n+13, which is 156 km long. The toll will be around Kip45,200 to 56,500, equivalent to US$5.40 to US$6.80.
After construction of the Vientiane-Vangvieng section has begun, authorities in charge will survey the second section between Vangvieng and Luang Prabang province.