VIENTIANE, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Laos-China Railway Company announced on Sunday that the China-Laos railway project has entered the phase of comprehensive construction in an orderly and effective way.
The announcement was made by Zhao Xiang, director general of the Laos-China Railway Company, at a gathering here to commend the progress achieved so far in the project.
The construction of the railway officially started on Dec. 25, 2016 in northern Laos' Luang Prabang province. In march this year, a campaign of 100-day dry season working competition was launched to speed up the construction process.
According to Zhao, since the launching of the competition, construction units of the project have overcome various difficulties to actively promote the implementation of the project.
In less than six months, site preparation has been completed for the construction of four stations; foundation construction of nine bridge piles have finished; 86 holes for construction of 46 tunnels have been prepared, of which 15 are key tunnels, he said.
Lattanamany Khounnyvong, Lao vice minister of public works and transport and team leader of the railway project working group, said in his speech that th China-Laos railway is a project of strategic significance which will benefit peoples of the two countries.
Besides promoting interconnectivity between China and Southeast Asia, the railway is also an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.
Huang Difu, general manager of China Railway International Co., Ltd and chairman of the Laos-China Railway Company, said the construction of the railway has achieved substantive results.
Since the railway runs along the scenic spots of Laos including world cultural heritage protection area, the construction units will make the greatest efforts to reduce the impact of construction on the environment and protect the beautiful scenery of Laos, Huang said.
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 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.