I rode from Luang Nam Tha to Houay Say at the end of November. They had not finished and won't finish soon(not within the next 3 months, I would say although I am not a road engeneer). Part of the road is finished: brand new with nice curbs. Part is the original old dirt road. Part is a construction site (expect a lot of dust).All that come as a mix. No road block then.
Take 4 to 6 hours, depend how you like to stop.
Just finished riding this stretch about 2 hours ago and now back home here in Chiang Khong with hot shower and a cold beer or 2-3-4. The ride took us 5 hours and was Not fun. The first 25k or so was wonderful and paved as well as the last 25k. And there were a couple of paved stretches in the middle - BUT the rest was much worse then when we rode it this time last year. TOO much thick dust and Too many water trucks making for a lot slip and sliding around. Plus a fair amount of deepish dirt/mud to work through, due to how, when and where they do the grading and road build-up, with water to pack it down with...
Seeing what was accomplished in the last 12 months, we would guess another 24+ months before it's completed.
And when it's completed, it should be a Great Ride of 200k with excellent roll on and roll off curves to keep all the speed types happy.
Until the road is 100% finished, we think next time we might find another route home.
Thanks for the update David. I met an Australian Horizons Unlimited rider near Pakxan who was headed that way 2 up on a fully loaded BMW 1150?GS. I advised against it for the reasons you found. Not that he or the bike couldn't, just that it is not enjoyable at all.....I am glad that you confirmed it.
How about a report on your "adventures" in the south? Our talk in Vang V. made it sound like quite an outing. [B)]