Upgrading Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Highway to contribute to socio-economic development of the local community and border trade facilitation

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Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia, sharing border areas with China, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh and India.
Agriculture and livestock are the backbones of the country’s economy but it has rich mineral resources as well. Myanmar is carrying out cross-border trade with the neighbouring countries. Muse 105th mile trade zone is the busiest and major trade post between Myanmar and China. The major mode of transportation is road transport.
The Mandalay-Lashio-Muse highway is from PyinOoLwin, Mandalay Region to Muse in the northern Shan State areas (Nawnghkio, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Lashio, Hsenwi, Kutkai and Mongyu), spanning 291.875 miles.
The highway project was implemented by Oriental Highway Co., Ltd in 1996 under the Build-Operate-Transfer system with the Ministry of Construction. The road was only 12-18 feet wide then and it could not run during the monsoon season. The rainfall affected the road. It took about two to three days from Lashio to Muse.
The Oriental Highway Co., Ltd, therefore, upgraded from a 12-18 feet road into a 22-36-48 feet road with Asphalt Concrete. At present, it takes only three hours to go from Lashio to Muse.
The company under the BOT model spent K356 billion on 291.875-mile road. There were 855 bridges and culverts along the highway. Upgradation work as concrete bridges below and above 180 feet were also implemented for 696 bridges.
The Mandalay-Nawnghkio and Lashio-Kutkai-Muse Road parts on Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Highway were upgraded into four lanes, covering 172.39 miles. Outer Ring Roads of PyinOoLwin and Lashio were also constructed.
Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Union Highway is connected to Asian Highway 14. It links to Myitkyina city in Kachin State from Namhkam Township in the northern Shan State. It is also the main gateway of the border trade between Myanmar and China.
“Our Company is carrying out upgrading projects for Hsenwi-Kunlong-Chinshwehaw Road (66 miles), Muse-Namhkam (22 miles), Mongyu-Kyukok (12 miles), Yedashe-Pyinmana (39 miles and five furlongs), Pyinmana-Yamethin Road (45 miles and five furlongs), Myitnge-Htonebo (nine miles and three furlongs), Pathein-Ngwesaung (29 miles), Samalauk-Maubin (20 miles) and Mandalay-Lashio-Muse (291.875 miles) under B.O.T system.
“Road defects can be formed on roads in ten years. As a result of this, we are upgrading the roads under BOT projects with Asphalt Concrete.”
“Upgradation of the Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Highway is underway. For Mandalay-PyinOoLwin (47 miles and 1 furlong), the Ministry of Construction and Asia World Company Limited operated upgrading work under the name of Oriental Highways Co., Ltd on 15 August 2002. Out of 855 bridges and culverts, 696 bridges have been restored. According to the contract, upgrading in mountainous regions will be undertaken up to 18 feet. In some places, the road is expanded up to 36-48 feet in width. Asphalt concrete paving works have been finished for 172.39-mile road parts (36-48 feet width). The remaining road parts will be further upgraded in the respective financial years,” U Tin Ko Ko, project director of Oriental Highways Co., Ltd elaborated.
To summarize, Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Highway is starting from Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region, passing PyinOoLwin Township and Nawnghkio, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Lashio, Hsenwi, Kutkai and Mongyu in the northern Shan State and linking up to Muse. It is the main road connecting central Myanmar and the border area with China. It plays a pivotal role in cross-border trade between Myanmar and China. That 48-feet wide road with four lanes is upgraded to roads with Asphalt Concrete to facilitate the border trade. Moreover, it will enhance the socio-economy of the local communities in the villages and towns along the Highway.

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