Laos-China railway almost 90% complete
VIENTIANE — Construction of the Laos-China railway was 89.43 percent complete as of the end of May with Lao authorities calling for the project developer to progress work according to plan.
General Manager Xiao Qianwen of the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. (LCRC), a joint venture based in Vientiane in charge of the railway’s construction and operation, briefed Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Bounthong Chitmany during his recent visit to project construction sites in the capital and Vientiane province.
Some 65 tunnels were completely bored, and numerous bridges have been built, according to Pasaxon Newspaper. The 409 km railway – running through the capital of Vientiane and the four provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha that shares a border with China – composes 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km.
Almost 50 km of rail tracks have been laid from Houainamyen village in Naxaithong district, Vientiane to Luang Prabang province, according to Mr Xiao.
Work on the second phase of the Laos-China railway project has progressed, which will extend the railway from the central station in Vientiane to the container yard in Thanalaeng village of Vientiane’s Hadxaifong district. The area reserved for the construction of the 17 km railway extension and its stations has been earmarked.
Dr Bounthong, who is also Chairman of the Laos-China railway construction project supervisory committee, called for the company to attach great importance to project management to ensure it progresses as planned.
According to the original plan, construction of the US$5.986 billion project is set to complete by 2021.
The railway operator has been seeking candidates for personnel training programs in preparation for railway operations, which are expected to begin services in early 2022. Dr Bounthong told the developer and authorities in charge to accelerate negotiations with villagers affected by the planned construction of the second (extension) phase and to relocate them, allowing the project to proceed. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the deputy prime minister asked the company to observe prevention and control measures imposed by the Lao government to stop the disease from entering the project site.
The Laos-China railway project is part of the regional rail link connecting China’s Kunming to Singapore via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.
The Lao government has attached great importance to the project as it hopes it will boost efforts to transform the nation from being landlocked to land-linked.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.