WASHINGTON, DC, May 18, 2018 – More than 500,000 people living adjacent to sections of National Road 13 will benefit from the improvements planned in the National Road 13 Improvement and Maintenance Project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
The project will improve the condition, safety, and climate resilience of critical sections of National Road 13, Lao PDR’s most important corridor, which is integral to domestic and regional connectivity. Many parts have not been rehabilitated since the main sections were completed in 1997 and now require major improvements to keep up with the growth in use. Some sections, especially those around the capital of Vientiane, are expected to reach maximum capacity in the next five years as traffic rapidly increases.
“National Road 13 is vital to our economy, and its upgrade, rehabilitation and maintenance will broaden access to markets, jobs and public services, while also making travel safer. An improved National Road 13 brings Lao PDR closer to its goal of more inclusive growth,” said Dr. Bounchanh Sinthavong, Minister of Public Works and Transport of Lao PDR.
In addition to road expansion and improvement, the project will strengthen the road’s resilience to climate change and ensure it lasts longer. Road safety measures and improved pedestrian facilities will make the road safer, particularly for women and children from local communities who use the road to walk to and from markets and schools. Measures to curtail the overloading of trucks will help increase the efficiency of funds allocated for road maintenance.
“Roads facilitate economic growth. Safer roads, more reliable access, and reduced travel time can improve Lao PDR’s business climate, strengthen integration between urban and rural markets, and create more jobs,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Director for Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. “As the World Bank support will improve efficiency in managing road assets, and provide a model for public-private partnership, it may also incentivize private sector to invest in roads in the future.”
The project will first focus on the high traffic corridor outside of Vientiane of Sikeut-Phonhong (km 12-70), which is currently the country’s busiest stretch of road, and also vulnerable to severe flooding.
To be implemented from 2018 to 2023, the project will receive US$40 million in financing from the International Development Association, and co-financing of US$40 million, US$38.5 million, and US$9.5 million from, respectively, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Government of Lao PDR, and the Nordic Development Fund. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport will implement the project, using an Output and Performance-Based Road contract to support more efficient use of funds.