The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which is currently under construction across the Mekong River, is set to open in 2024 to boost border travel between Laos and Thailand and spur trade with other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
The 1,350-meter bridge, linking Bolikhamxay province in Laos to Thailand’s northeastern province of Bueng Kan, is now reported to be 70% complete. Construction is also ahead of schedule, with the bridge expected to open to traffic in early 2024.
When the bridge is completed, it will enable Bolikhamxay to become another regional trade hub and transit route. It will help promote cross-border trade, investment and tourism, bolster economic growth in Laos and Thailand, and strengthen ties between the two neighbors.
Plans to build the bridge were first drawn up in 2014. The design of the structure was approved by the Laotian and Thai governments in 2018, and construction kicked off in January 2021.
The total construction cost is estimated at US$130.3 million, of which Laos will be responsible for some $46.13 million. Laos’ construction costs will be financed by Thailand’s Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency through the provision of loans. (NNT)