People living alongside a 9.4-km road that is in the process of being upgraded have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the perpetual clouds of dust that engulf them while the road remains unsurfaced.
The road in question runs from the Tanmixay crossroads in Xaythany district to the Sikeuth junction in Naxaithong district, Vientiane.
The dust settles in the houses, shops and restaurants that line the road and residents are urging the authorities to investigate the matter and hopefully accelerate the upgrade.
One person living along the road said “Lots of us are having to wear masks to protect our lungs against the dust and some families are putting obstacles on the road outside their houses to slow speeding vehicles.”
“Some people don’t want to open their windows or doors and some families have moved out temporarily.”
Road project director Houmphan Duangphadeth told Vientiane Times on Thursday “To keep the dust down we regularly spray water along the road but it’s difficult to keep the dust away because of the many vehicles that use this road.”
“However, we are speeding up construction work and hope to finish resurfacing the road this year,” he said.
The road upgrade is now over 55 percent complete and work is currently underway on the section between the Sikeuth junction and Nongbeuk village.
The project to improve and widen the road began in October 2016 and was scheduled for completion in October last year but was delayed partly due to financial difficulties.
It also took longer than expected to remove all of the obstacles that were impeding construction, take out electricity cables and negotiate with people living along the road, according to an official in charge. The upgrade is costing US$45.1 million (about 367 billion kip including interest).
The Tangchaleun Group Co., Ltd. is paying the total construction cost upfront and the government will reimburse the company at a later date.
The government will repay the company over a period of seven years with an annual interest rate of 3.5 percent.
The completed road will be 28 metres wide and have six lanes, a median strip, pavements and drainage. Traffic lights will also be installed.
When finished, the road will improve conditions for local vendors and residents. It connects Road No. 13 North, 450 Road and Kaysone Phomvihane Avenue via the National University of Laos.