5th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Set for Opening This November

The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, connecting Bueng Kan province in Thailand to Pakxan town in Laos, is set to open to the public this November, Deputy Transport Minister Manaporn Charoensri announced on Friday.

This new border crossing will serve as an entry point to the Bolikhamsai province in Laos and aims to boost the economy, tourism, and trade among Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China.

Spanning from the tambons of Bueng Kan, Khai Si, and Wisit in Muang Bueng Kan district, the bridge is situated directly across from Pakxan.

The construction includes a 1.35-kilometre bridge over the Mekong River with a two-lane road, and a four-lane road on the Thailand side that connects Highway 222 (Bueng Kan-Phang Khon) to Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, and Sakon Nakhon, plus a 2.86-kilometre, two-lane bypass in Pakxan.

The entire project, which costs 3.906 billion baht, is due for completion this November, according to Ms. Manaporn.

Its purpose is to facilitate transportation between Thailand and Laos, reducing costs and travel time for transporters, which benefits both logistics and tourism, Ms. Manaporn explained.

The ministry anticipates that this project will spur investment and job creation, and foster the urban expansion of Bueng Kan, enhancing connectivity to Vietnam and southern China upon completion.

Additionally, there is a strategy in place for infrastructure development to promote sustainable growth in the four provinces along the Thailand-Laos border, Ms. Manaporn stated.

Considered high-potential economic areas, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, and Sakon Nakhon host two of the eventual six Thai-Lao Friendship Bridges.

Current developments in the region include a dual-track railway and road network, which received 1.605 billion baht from this year’s budget and has an overall expense of 72.34 billion baht.

These projects are aimed at enhancing transportation links among Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China, Ms. Manaporn highlighted.