Construction beings on fifth Laos-Thailand bridge

A fisherman pulls his net from the Mekong river in Wiang Kaen, a district in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai bordering Laos. Photo: AFP/Chrisophe Archambault. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Jan 8, 2021, PM. Construction work has started on the fifth bridge linking Laos and Thailand across the Mekong River. It will take three years to complete and will connect Bolikhamxay province in Laos to Thailand’s northeastern province of Bueng Kan, Pincent Masons reported.

The total cost of construction is estimated to be $130.3 million and Laos will be responsible for $46.13m of that, a Xinhua report said. Laos’ construction costs will be financed by Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) through the provision of loans.

The bridge will be completed in 2023 and will enable Bolikhamxay to become another regional trade hub and transit route for Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

It is part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region and Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), which is a cooperation framework among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam to help with development in the region.

Infrastructure expert John Yeap of Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law, said, “Inter-regional connectivity is key to promoting trade and prosperity within the Greater Mekong Sub-region. This additional bridge will go towards achieving these aims.”

There are four bridges linking Laos and Thailand across the Mekong River. It has been reported that Laos and Thailand plan to start work on a sixth bridge in 2023.

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