Construction of fifth Lao-Thai Mekong bridge connecting Laos’ Borikhamxay province to Thailand’s Bueng Kan province is 23% complete
The bridge is expected to be fully complete in 2024
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Work on the fifth Lao-Thai (Thai-Laos) Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River, linking Pakxan district in Borikhamxay province to Bueng Kan province in northeastern Thailand, is now 23 per cent complete.
The bridge is expected to be fully complete in 2024 and will serve to boost trade and investment between Laos and Thailand.
Giving an update on the progress of construction over the past 11 months, Project Director Laythong Phommavong said that despite the Covid-19 outbreak work had been able to continue as planned, although in compliance with measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Construction began in January this year, under two separate contracts. Obligations under the first contract are now 18 per cent complete, exceeding the plan by 5.5 per cent, while 24 per cent of obligations under the second contract have been fulfilled, exceeding the plan by 2.3 per cent.
The average progress made under both contracts is 23 percent, exceeding the plan by 3.4 per cent.
The first contract involves the construction of the bridge, for which concrete piles are currently being dug.
The second contract covers the construction of the entrance to the bridge from Route No. 13 South over a distance of 2,860m, to be followed by the construction of passenger and freight buildings.
Laythong said that when complete the bridge will provide people in Laos and Thailand with a convenient travel option and enable the faster transport of freight.
It will also help to bolster regional integration by becoming a major economic corridor and the closest distance to a port in Thailand and a port in Vietnam.
The Covid outbreak this year made it difficult for construction crews to travel and transport materials, but every effort was made to make progress as planned, Laythong said.
The first contract runs for 36 months and is expected to be complete by the end of December 2023.
The second contract is expected to be complete by July 2023. If there is no delay, the bridge can be expected to open sometime in 2024.
The Lao side of the bridge is located in Kouy Oudom village in Pakxan district, Borikhamxay province, about 10km north of the urban centre of Pakxan district.
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.
The bridge is divided into several sections, of which the main submarine span consists of nine spans with a total length of 810 metres, while the connecting bridge has a total length of 540m.