Motorists warned over landslides, flooding on northern roads

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Authorities are warning motorists travelling to the north to be alert for landslides along mountainous routes, especially in Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang and Vientiane provinces, following heavy rain across the country since August 3.

Director of the Public Works and Transport Department in Huaphan province, Mr Houngarloun Bounthameuang, told Vientiane Times on Monday “Many roads in Viengxay, Huameuang, Xamtay and Xamneua districts have been affected by landslides and flooding.”

“A landslide occurred on the road between Phounmai and Khamnang villages and three bridges were damaged. We are calling on motorists to avoid this road until we can carry out repairs. We are speeding up repairs in Viengxay district to help army personnel and other rescuers in their search for seven people who have been missing since a landslide in Hindam village on August 3,” he said.

“Road No. 3550 from Huaytoung village is currently impassable because a bridge has been damaged by floodwaters,” he added.

Buildings, electricity and water connections, three bridges and a road in Nan district, Luang Prabang province, also suffered damage in recent floods. Authorities are assessing the damage and temporary repairs are being carried out, according to the province’s Public Works and Transport Department.

Vientiane provincial authorities are warning motorists planning to travel from Kasy district to Nan district in Luang Prabang province to avoid this road as work is underway to clear recent landslides.

Director of the Public Works and Transport Department in Vientiane province, Mr Soumontha Somchanmavong, said “Landslides occurred at three places on Phou Kao Lak (a steep 9km mountainous road), at Km 24, Km 31 and Km 33. We are now repairing and clearing the road.”

“We are warning heavy trucks in particular not to use this road. A safer route to the northern provinces is via Road No. 13 North through Phoukhoun,” he said.

The road between Kasy and Nan districts is not only mountainous but also has many bends, so motorists should take great care, especially in wet conditions.  Officials urged the public to use caution when travelling in the area and to drive safely at low speeds appropriate to conditions while keeping their eyes open for road damage.

Many provinces have been affected by flash floods, landslides and blocked roads after Tropical Storm Wipha passed over the country from August 4-5 and heavy rainfall occurred over the weekend.

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