Thailand provides 1.38 billion baht to Laos for construction of new bridge

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Lao government believes that the planned fifth Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River, linking Bung Kan province in Thailand and Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province, will greatly facilitate regional transport and trade.

Because of its significance for regional economic development, the Lao side of the bridge has received funding support from Thailand through the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA), amounting to over 1.38 billion baht (over 414 billion kip).

An agreement on financing for the bridge was signed in Vientiane on Friday by Deputy Minister of Finance Mr Bounchom Ubonpaseuth and NEDA President Mr Perames Vudthitornetiraks.

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Viengsavath Siphandone and other senior ministry officials witnessed the signing of the agreement.

The 1,350-metre long bridge will be built 10km north of Pakxan – the capital of Borikhamxay province - and about 2.5km from Road No.13 South.

It is believed the bridge will be a vital transport link, boosting trade and investment between Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

From Thailand’s Bung Kan province, vehicles will travel about 150km to Nge An province in Vietnam along Lao national highway No. 8 in Borikhamxay province. In Nge An, the road then links to Hanoi, Danang and other areas of Vietnam.

An initial study of the planned fifth Mekong Friendship Bridge indicates that it will transform Borikhamxay province into a transport and export-import hub.

The first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge connects Vientiane to Thailand’s Nong Khai province and the second connects Savannakhet province to Mukdahan province in Thailand.

The third bridge links Khammuan province with Nakhon Phanom province in Thailand, and the fourth links Bokeo province in the north of Laos with Chiang Rai province in Thailand.