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Lao-Thai Bridge links three countries
Publication Date : 12-12-2013
The fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River in Bokeo province is set to boost transportation, trade, investment and tourism from Asean to China.
Vice President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachit and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand open the new bridge.
The new bridge, which links Huayxai district, Bokeo province to Thailand's Chiang Rai province, was officially opened yesterday by Vice President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachit and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.
Deputy Prime Minister of Laos, Somsavat Lengsavad, and Thai Prime Minister, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, also attended the opening.
“The Lao government sees the importance of this bridge as a friendship between the neighbouring countries of Laos, Thailand and China,” Somsavat said at the opening.
Construction of the bridge was jointly funded by Laos and Thailand, with the total cost exceeding over US$48 million.
The new structure is part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) North-South Economic Corridor International Bridge Project which links Kunming, China to Bangkok, Thailand via the R3 route in Laos.
Ms Yingluck said as the North-South Economic Corridor continued to develop, the fourth bridge was needed to enhance existing transportation and economic cooperation between the countries.
The new bridge is expected to increase tourist traffic through Bokeo province, particularly from China and Thailand and border trades with Laos and Thailand are anticipated to double after the Asean Economic Community is launched in 2015.
A Bokeo official told Vientiane Times currently around 70 goods trucks and mini-busses from Thailand and China use the existing ferry service to cross the Mekong River at the Houyxai International border daily, leading to lengthy traffic jams at the checkpoint.
The new bridge should considerably reduce the congestion at the border.
Work on the bridge began in June 2010 and works on the Lao side of the bridge were 100 per cent complete as of the end of October this year.