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Old May 1st, 2010, 01:43 PM   #1
ChrisZwolle
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[LAO] Highways in Laos

LAOS




Not only Vietnam and Cambodia are improving their roads in Southeast Asia, Laos is too. Into the 90's, it was hard to find long-distance paved roads. By now, most major highways are paved, although most rural areas have only that major highway, all other roads seems to be unpaved.

Laos will become an important transit country for traffic from Thailand to China. There are plans of a Kunming - Bangkok Expressway, which would also run through Laos, although those plans haven't come into fruition yet.

Due to the rugged terrain of Laos, few main roads exist. Highway 13 is the main road north from Vientiane to Luang Prabang and the Chinese border, and south from Vientiane to the Cambodian border where it connects to Cambodian Highway 7 to Phnom Penh. Several east-west axis do exist, but few are known to be in good quality. Especially Highway 9 has been renovated and connects to central Vietnam.

Another issue is the Mekong River. This river has a very low amount of bridges across it, to my knowledge only one in Vietnam, one in Cambodia and two in Laos/Thailand south of Vientiane. This river literally dissects southeast Asia.

Some pictures of Laotian roads. Most of them were taken by a Panoramio member "Brombeer", which I believe is forum member -Pino-. Since Panoramio only offers inconvenient photo sizes (small or very large), I took the liberty to resize some of them.

[IMG]http://i40.************/zofcpe.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i42.************/339lyyr.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i42.************/o0bixd.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i40.************/2jfbucj.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i40.************/i4jt3o.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i43.************/4pz9n5.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i39.************/w6wa5y.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i44.************/1zz451l.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i41.************/rkv6lu.jpg[/IMG]

Last edited by ChrisZwolle; September 13th, 2011 at 03:47 PM.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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Yes, these pictures are mine (only the first one is not, I believe). What I always do when posting pictures from Panoramio is to deeplink to the medium size photos on Panoramio. No need to resize yourself.

Anyway, your description of the role of Laos as a transit country to and from China is spot-on. Not only to Thailand, but also to the Cambodian deep sea port of Sinahoukville. I imagine that the latter port will thrive on the continuing instability of Thailand. China has funded the bulk of the highway improvements in Laos and Cambodia over the last ten years or so. Even though the Thai-Vietnamese funding of Route 9 from East to West should not be forgotten, and Australia played its part in the various Thai-Lao Friendship bridges across the Mekong. It's difficult to imagine that there was not a single bridge connection between Thailand and Laos ten years ago. Such was the isolation of Laos. On the other hand, traffic across the Mekong is not so extensive that much more bridges are needed.

The good thing about these improvements is that they not only help through traffic, they also give massive impulses to the local economy. Tarmac roads give farmers a much better access to markets, whilst in the past they had little other option than selling to other people in the village and, at best, on the roadside to the occasional passers by. Speaking of sealed roads, when a colleague of mine visited Laos in the late 1990s, there was not a single sealed road to be found in the town of Vientiane. So not only intercity roads were unsealed, everything in town was too. The current status is as you describe it: throughfares are bitumen, local roads generally dirt.

Finally, a quick word about the numbering system. If you wonder why the main throughfare of the country has an odd number like 13 and why route 9 is out of place, they are relicts of the French route numbering in Indo-China. That was a system that covered all of present-day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. That's why Vietnam Route 9 matches Lao Route 9, while both look out of shape with the numbering system of the respective countries. Lao Route 13 is pretty much the continuation of Vietnamese Route 13, but Cambodia has "interrupted" this numbered road by implementing their own numbering. It all goes back to French Route Coloniale 13, from Saigon (HCMC) to Luang Prabang.
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Last edited by -Pino-; May 24th, 2010 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Clean-up
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 12:06 AM   #3
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I found an excellent map of the roads in this country (thnx to thaiflyingclub). Nicely presents all categories of roads, show main and secondary paved roadsand other categories of dirt roads. Northeast of Vientiane dual carriageway(13-15 m wide road) Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane (12 km), Rue Thadeua - going to Laos-Thai border bridge (13-15 m wide road)

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Old May 2nd, 2010, 12:07 AM   #4
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMiros View Post
Northeast of Vientiane dual carriageway(13-15 m wide road) Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane (12 km), Rue Thadeua - going to Laos-Thai border bridge (13-15 m wide road)
The road to the Border Bridge is on the last picture of the series above. Four lanes indeed, but hard to call it a dual carriageway. Like elsewhere in SE Asia, the two right-hand lanes are for slow traffic like mopeds, tuktuks etc, so that proper cars and trucks have to rely on the two inner lanes.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #6
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New 2x2 at-grade bypass of Vientiane:

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Old September 13th, 2011, 03:34 PM   #7
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The bypass is supposed to continue towards the airport and Route 13 towards Luang Prabang. Not sure how far that further development is. Anyway, it's not that Vientiane has traffic levels that require this type of bypass, but it's certainly easy for through traffic on the Bangkok - Vientiane - Kunming route. Saves a few trucks in town !

And that transit route is about to be improved further, as the most significant infrastructure project of Laos at the moment is the rerouting of Route 13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In the current situation, Route 13 makes a detour via Phu Khoun, but they are now straightening Route 13. Upon completion, Route 13 will head straight North from the town of Kasi and then rejoin the current Route 13 at Nan. The old Route 13 to be bypassed is an extremely winding route. It should save 79 kilometers and three hours on the total Vientiane - Luang Prabang trip.

The construction work is one of 68 kilometers long. The new Route 13 is being build at 7 meters wide, so that sounds like a good 1+1 route. For what it's worth, official sources mention a completion in 2013. Most important thing is that they are working on it !

Latest online info that I found.
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Last edited by -Pino-; September 13th, 2011 at 10:40 PM.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 01:21 PM   #8
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good thread, should be continue update...
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Old August 20th, 2012, 10:04 AM   #9
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deleted.........

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Old August 20th, 2012, 10:08 AM   #10
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WOW those roads look nice but who paid them ???
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Old August 20th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #11
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Those videos are from the Philippines.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 12:16 AM   #12
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There is no such thing like an overpass in Laos. Nor viaduct or a tunnel, and retaining walls are absolute rarity.
Also almost all sealed roads are actually sealed with bitumen, not paved with asphalt. I traveled most of important road in Laos, I'll put some pictures in the future.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:27 AM   #13
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WHAT !! those are roads are actually from the Philippines ,
hey dude you almost fooled me any way whats the connection sccrd laos and sccrd philippines ??? got any evidence that they are building something there and if that is actually possible for them to build those in laos?
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Old March 13th, 2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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Roadway switch at the Vientiane - Nong Khai Bridge (Laos-Thai border).


The eastern bypass of Vientiane is a six-lane road.


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Old May 2nd, 2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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I have poste quite a bit of information on highways in Laos on the RideAsia forum. You can find the info here: http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-f...tion-laos.html
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Old August 17th, 2015, 04:56 AM   #16
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2015-03-10 drive-lapse in Vientiane, Laos

http://youtu.be/rNYExhoFDcg

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Old September 25th, 2015, 04:10 AM   #17
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2015-03-10 drive-lapse from Udon Thani to Vientiane via Nong Khai

http://youtu.be/FMnSZgJS1uw

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Old September 29th, 2015, 06:16 PM   #18
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2015-03-11 drive-lapse from Vientiane to Muang Xay via Luang Prabang

http://youtu.be/YQS8N6eTaYw

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Old September 29th, 2015, 11:59 PM   #19
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didnt know that cars in Laos with right steer
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Old September 30th, 2015, 12:40 AM   #20
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Hmm Laos drives on the right so they usually have LHD cars, but visitors from Thailand have their steering wheel on the right side.

There is also a vid in the International Border Crossings thread that shows the drive from Thailand into Laos. Vehicles are changing the side of the road.
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