Roads in central Luang Prabang will no longer be congested when a bypass around the town is completed in 2014.
Luang Prabang provincial Public Works and Transport Department Director, Mr Fasanan Thammavong, said recently Luang Prabang authorities and the government will invest about US$21 million to build the bypass and a bridge across the Nam Khan River on the edge of the town.
The 18.4 km bypass will run from Kokngeuw to Phonxay villages. The road will be 11 metres wide, and the bridge will be 202 metres long and 11 metres wide. The bridge will be in the area of Noun village.
“The bypass will be very useful for both locals and tourists. It will help to reduce traffic congestion, road accidents and noise pollution as well as improve public health,” Mr Fasanan said.
He added that the bypass will not only ease traffic congestion, but will also make life easier for local residents and tourists as it is part of a new urban development planned for Luang Prabang, where government offices and businesses will relocate.
It is expected that construction of the bypass and bridge will take three years, with the Phousi Road and Bridge Construction Company to put up the money and undertake the project.
The government will reimburse the company in line with the agreement made between the two parties. The Luang Prabang authorities and the company signed an agreement last year to clear land and relocate people living in the construction area.
Mr Fasanan said construction is now about 10 percent complete and the company has been working full time on the project since the start of this year. The bridge and road are expected to be finished on time.
Luang Prabang has become increasingly congested in recent years as the number of vehicles, residents and tourists has grown. About 300,000 foreign tourists visited Luang Praba ng province last year. According to a report from the provincial Governor, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, the Luang Prabang authorities will develop the province as a prime location for both domestic and foreign tourists. By 2015, it is envisaged that about 500,000 tourists will visit the World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang province has a population of over 400,000 people, living in 12 districts.
The province is situated in the centre of northern Laos, bordering Oudomxay, Huaphan, Vientiane, Xayaboury and Xi eng Khuang provinces. It has a total area of 16,875 square kilometers and derives its main income from tourism. In fiscal year 2010-2011, local residents earned US$164 million from the tourism industry.
(Latest Update May 7 , 2012)