Route 3 is an economically important link in the north of Laos between China and Thailand. The 197 km route beginns in the provincial capital Luang Namtha in the Louang Namtha Province, in Laos. She also leads southwest to the provincial capital of Ban Houayxay in the Bokeo Province at river Mekong and on completion of the Fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge will end here. Above all, China is interested in improving traffic routes to Southeast Asia, to finance with Thailand together with the main share in the expansion of highways in Laos. The Laotian section is part of the Kunming–Bangkok Expressway, which is part of the Asian Highway AH3.