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Fifth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge over 14 percent complete

Construction of the fifth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge linking Borikhamxay province to Bueng Kan province in Thailand across the Mekong River is 14.42 percent complete.
It is envisaged that the bridge will become another regional trade hub and transit route for Laos and neighbouring countries when finished.
Work on the project began at the beginning of January this year and the 14.42 percent completion figure exceeds the target set for August by 5.67 percent.
Project Director Mr Laythong Phommavong said work on the bridge is underway in Kuay Oudom village in Pakxan district, Borikhamxay province, about 10 km north of the main town in Pakxan district and 2,860 metres from Road No. 13 South.

The project was agreed to in August 2019 with Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) loaning the Lao government 1.38 billion baht, with the cost to be borne by Laos and Thailand.
Two agreements on the project were signed: the first concerns the construction of a bridge across the Mekong River and the second relates to the construction of an access road to the bridge and the building of immigration facilities.
The average progress of work under the two contracts as well as the overall progress of the project at the end of August was targeted at 8.75 percent, but the actual performance was 14.42 percent, exceeding the target by 5.67 percent.
When the bridge is complete in 2023, it will enable Borikhamxay to become another vital trade hub and transit route for Laos, Thailand and Vietnam over a distance of 150km. It will be the shortest connecting route between the three countries.
Construction of the 1.35km prestressed concrete bridge is estimated to take three years.
It includes a 15km-long two-lane road, mostly in Thailand, with border control facilities on both sides.
Borikhamxay serves as a transit province, not only between the north and south of Laos, but also between Vientiane and the northeastern provinces of Xieng Khuang and Huaphan.
Most people pass through Borikhamxay when travelling to Xieng Khuang province. When the bridge is complete, people in Xieng Khuang and Huaphan can also trade with neighbouring countries.
The government attaches great importance to the construction of roads and bridges that connect to neighbouring countries so that Laos is no longer considered as landlocked but becomes a land bridge.
The government also views the under-construction railway and expressway as crucial to boosting trade, investment and tourism because they will reduce the cost of transport and spur economic activity in Laos.


By Phomphong Laoin
  (Latest Update September 13, 2021)


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