What can be done to ensure better repair of roads?
Many roads are in urgent need of repair, especially after the heavy rains last year washed out large sections. But the Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department says it does not have enough money to fund road repairs in all nine districts of the city. The work is expected to cost 50 billion kip but the government already has many outstanding debts. Vientiane Times asked some local residents for their thoughts on this chronic problem.

 

Mr Tai, an official in Naxaithong district: Building and repairing roads is an expensive undertaking and it’s hard to repair rural roads in particular. We have to wait for a long time for repairs and it’s bad that roads become damaged only a few years after being built or upgraded. Sometimes, the authorities ask villagers to pay for the cost of repairs, which I think is unreasonable, because how can local people pay for this? I know the government has a lot of debts and already spends a lot on road construction. But the debts will keep piling up if contractors continue to think only about how much profit they can make and regulation of the construction industry continues to be as lax as it is at present.

Ms Noy, a resident of Sikhottabong district: As we all know, building and repairing roads costs a lot of money. But roads get broken up every year so the government has considerable expenditure on this work. I think it would be better if everyone got together to protect roads after they’ve been built or repaired because from what I see the general public doesn’t really care. In times of heavy rain we need to clean out the drains to make sure the roads don’t flood, as this is the main cause of road damage. I think everyone should help to pay for road repairs because they’re public property and everyone uses them. If we’re not prepared to pay for their upkeep, we need to do more to maintain our roads.

Ms Na, an employee in Vientiane: I don’t know how much it costs to build or repair one kilometre of road but I have never seen any good roads in my district or anywhere else. After only a few years, a new road starts to develop cracks and potholes. I think it’s because of the big trucks, which should be controlled of course, but it’s also because of the bad quality of our roads. I don’t know if the Ministry of Public Works and Transport ever checks the quality of construction or whether ministry staff have low skills and no experience in conducting checks. However, I hope they will work harder and that the government’s monitoring system soon improves.

Ms Sone Phalangvan, a resident of Xaythany district: It’s true that the quality of the roads in Vientiane is very bad. This applies to roads in other places too. They are damaged and weren’t built properly in the first place. Some of the roads I don’t like include the one from Tarnmixay to Nonsaard as it’s very bumpy. It’s also dusty in the dry season and very dirty in the rainy season. I don’t know if the authorities check such things. As for me, I don’t have any experience in road construction but I do know that what we have at present is of poor quality. I think that if roads are properly built in the first place, using top grade construction materials, we wouldn’t lose so much money in carrying out repairs every year.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 7, 2019)


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