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Upgraded road link paves way for more Thai visitors

The upgrade of the 114-km National Road No. 4B, which links northern Laos to Nan province in Thailand, is now officially complete and is expected to attract more tourists to the World Heritage-listed town of Luang Prabang.
The road is expected to greatly benefit people in the northern provinces as well as facilitate domestic and international overland transport.
The road is seen as an important contributor to social and economic development in the area as well as benefiting Nan province.
An official handover ceremony and opening took place in Xiengman village, Chomphet district, Luang Prabang province on Tuesday.
The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Somdy Duangdy; Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong; the Governor of Luang Prabang province, Mr Khamkhan Chanthavisouk, and other officials.

The road was rebuilt in two sections. The first section covered 42km from Napong village to Hongsa district in Xayaboury province. It is seven metres wide, has two traffic lanes, is surfaced with a double layer of asphalt, and includes one bridge.
The second section of road runs from the Xayaboury border to Xiengman village in Chomphet district, Luang Prabang province.  The whole road is 71.6km long, 7-9 metres wide, and has seven bridges.
The project cost was 1,977 million baht, financed by Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA), which provided 1,581,600,000 baht as a loan and 395,400,000 baht in grant aid.
Project director of the first section of road, Mr Inpong Soukhavong, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday “The two sections of the road are now finished and provide a good link between Hongsa and Chomphet districts to Nan province in Thailand.”
The road provides a shortcut to Luang Prabang province from Nan province, with the journey taking about three hours.
Construction work began in 2015 and the improved road is expected to significantly increase road usage and reduce travel times between Hongsa and Chomphet districts.
Authorities believe the road will help link Laos and Thailand to southern China and boost trade, thereby improving livelihoods and socio-economic development in Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update January 16, 2020)

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