The Lao government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four construction companies from Laos and China to carry out a survey, feasibility study and detailed design of the Vientiane-Pakxe Expressway.
According to Vientiane Times online newspaper on Sunday, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will sign the MOU on behalf of the Lao government, the coordinator of the expressway project Bounyavath Nilaxay told local media on Friday.
The companies are scheduled to begin work this year and will spend one year on the assignments after signing contracts with the ministry.
The participating companies are Phousy Construction and Development Public Company, Douangchaleun Development Group, China Yunnan Sunny Road and Bridge Company and the China Road and Bridge Cooperation Company.
The 585-km expressway from the Lao capital Vientiane to southern Champassak province will have four lanes, with a total carriageway width of 23 meters.
Bounyavath said the project will be under the Build-Operate-Transfer model.
The road will be built to specifications laid down under Asean Expressway Standard Grade 1 and will be able to carry loads of up to 11 tonnes per axle.
The Lao government believes the expressway will help the nation connect with the region, with the aim of turning the land-locked country into a transport hub.
At present it takes about 10 hours by car to travel from Vientiane to Pakxe. When the expressway is built, travel time could be reduced to less than seven hours.