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Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia build road links
[May 01, 2011]

Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia build road links

VIENTIANE, Apr 30, 2011 (Vientiane Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The triangle of land where the Lao, Vietnamese and Cambodian borders meet is experiencing rapid development as the three countries work to improve transport links.

The Lao part of the development triangle is located in Attapeu province in southern Laos, Director of the Attapeu provincial Public Works and Transport Department Mr Phetmixay Khampakmy said on Wednesday.

"The development triangle is receiving funding assistance from the Japanese government," he pointed out.

In Laos, construction has started on a road in Samakkhixay district of the province which will eventually link to Vietnam and Cambodia through Phouvong district.

The province is spending US$5.6 million to build a bridge across the Xekhaman River, as well as three kilometres of asphalt road on both sides of the bridge, with funding provided by Japan, Mr Phetmixay told Vientiane Times .

The new bridge and road on either side will be finished within 24 months from the start of construction.

The distance from the Xekhaman bridge to the border with Cambodia is about 90km.

"We can't say when the asphalt road reaching Cambodia will be finished, but we have acquired funding from Japan to continue building a further 19km of road," he added.

Laying asphalt on roads is quite expensive, with 1 km costing around US$800,000, he said.

Attapeu province borders Vietnam and Cambodia and has five districts -- Xaysettha, Samakkhixay, Sanamxay, Sanxay, and Phouvong.

Sanxay and Phouvong districts are considered to be amongst the poorest in the country, with a lack of basic infrastructure, especially roads and electricity.

An asphalt road connecting Attapeu to Vietnam was built a few years ago, but there is no road access to Cambodia. Only Champassak province currently has a road link to Cambodia.

As part of development plans to take the province out of poverty by 2020, work on a road link between Attapeu and Cambodia has started.

A planned motorway between Attapeu and Vietnam, passing through Phouvong district, is currently under construction, with surveying and design for some sections also ongoing.

Road access from the provincial capital to the border area of Phouvong district is restricted during the wet season, as vehicles often can't cross rivers because ferry services are frequently halted due to strong currents.

Once complete, the road will help reduce poverty because people will have better access to markets in both Laos and Cambodia where they can sell their agricultural produce and handicrafts.

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