VIENTIANE, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Construction of the Laos-China railway is gathering steam with many tunnels being bored despite rainfall, Lao state-run media Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted officials as saying.
All three tunnels in Lao northern Luang Namtha province, some 360 km northwest of the Lao capital Vientiane, are being bored with the Boten Tunnel having progressed the furthest at more than 50 meters, according to project coordinator for Luang Namtha province Chanthachone Keolakhone.
The Laos-China Friendship Tunnel, which crosses the Laos-China border, has been bored more than 10 meters so far, he added.
In addition, Chinese contractors are preparing to drill the foundations for a bridge connecting Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces.
Project coordinator for northern Oudomxay province Phonpadith Phommakit said that about 30 tunnels will be bored in the province.
The railway, which connects Lao capital Vientiane with Chinese border through Lao provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha, passes through 75 tunnels.
The Lao and Chinese sides have been working hard to get the tunnels bored before the rainy season so that rainfall will not delay construction, as work can be carried out inside the tunnels during rain.
The China-Laos railway has a total length of 414.332 kilometers with over 62.7 percent of bridges and tunnels, linking Mohan-Boten border gate in northern Laos and capital Vientiane.
Operating speed on the route is designed at 160 km per hour. Construction of the project is scheduled for five years with investment of some 40 billion Chinese yuan (5.8 billion U.S. dollars), 70 percent of which comes from Chinese investment and the rest 30 percent from the Lao side.
China-Laos railway is the first overseas route connecting with the railway system in China, using Chinese technology, equipment and investment.