The government is planning to expand the road from Xaysavang village to Dongsanghin village in Xaythany district, Vientiane , this year in preparation for the 25 th SEA Games, to be held in December 2009.

The aim is to avoid traffic jams while the games are in progress. The six-lane road will be 4.5 km long and 21 metres wide, with lighting and parking places for a distance of one kilometre leading to the sports complex.

The complex is located in Dongsanghin village, at Km 16 in Xaythany district.

The upgrade will begin in February and is expected to take one year. The government will fund the project through a loan of 2.7 billion kip (US$300,000) from the Republic of Korea 's International Economic Development Fund.

The governments of the two countries will sign an agreement on the loan at the end of this month.

“A Korean company will design and build the new road and will send a proposal to the Roads Department of the Ministry of Works and Transport before approval is given,” said the Director General of the Roads Department, Mr Laokham Sompheth.

“We are also seeking funding to repair other roads in the area of the stadium,” said Mr Laokham.

The government spent about 34.8 billion kip (US$3.7 million) this month to relocate the residents of two villages in the vicinity of the sports complex.

At present, the road is about 7 metres wide, which is too narrow to cope with the large volume of traffic expected at the games.

The government of the Republic of Korea will begin searching for a Korean company to rebuild the road, which will be fully landscaped in time for the opening ceremony.

Deputy Mayor of Vientiane Somvandy Nathavong said at the Prime Minister's Office last week “We need to widen the stretch from Kaysone Phomvihane Road to the Dongsanghin village road into a six-lane highway to ease traffic congestion”.

He also intends that 5 hectares of land around the sports complex be made into a park.

At present, Vientiane has only one kilometre of road that is six lanes wide, Lane Xang Avenue , which runs from the Patouxay Monument to the Presidential Palace.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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