Laos, Thailand To Build Another Friendship Bridge
Laos and Thailand are considering the construction of one more friendship bridge to connect the two countries in a move that would link Vientiane Province and Loei.
The governor of Vientiane Province, Mr. Khamphan Sithidampha told reporters on August 16 that Vientiane provincial authorities had proposed the project to the government for its consideration.
“We are conducting a study on the location of the bridge, to decide whether it should be in Sanakham or Meun district,” Mr. Khamphan, as quoted by Vientiane Times.
It is unclear when the construction of the bridge would begin.
The first friendship bridge to connect the two nations was built in 1994, with help from the Australian government.
Since then, the two governments have constructed a total of four Lao-Thai bridges across the Mekong River and have signed an agreement to build another bridge linking Borikhamxay province with the Thai province of Bueng Kan.
Mr. Khamphan said the construction of the bridge and the upgrade of border crossings between Vientiane province and Loei Province would provide a significant boost for domestic and foreign investment.
Laos and Thailand have beefed up their efforts to improve connectivity between two nations in recent years.
The first freight train service to and from Laos was launched in early August, which will carry cargo from a container yard at Thanaleng Railway Station in Vientiane, Laos, to as far as the Laem Chaban seaport in Thailand.
Trains to and from Vientiane used to be only able to carry passengers only across the 3.5km track, while freight was carried across the border to Nong Khai by truck.
Meanwhile, Thailand is preparing to launch the country’s first bullet train that will run between Bangkok and Beijing, China, with Laos as one of the intermediate stations.
In particular, the first route, a Thai-Sino project linking Bangkok and Nong Khai in the far Northeast, is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
In July, Laos and Thailand also signed an agreement to extend road and rail connections between the two countries worth more than THB 3 billion (USD 98.2 million).
Under the agreement, the two countries plan to improve the R11 road linking the Phudu border checkpoint in Uttaradit province in Northern Thailand with the Lao capital, Vientiane. The two-lane road will be paved with asphalt and will cost about THB 1.8 billion (USD 59 million).