View Full Version : Thai-Laos Mekhong connections
October 16th, 2007, 08:53 AM
The race to connect China and Vietnam thru Laos is on.
The 2nd Mekhong bridge at Mukdaharn opened Dec last year
After the Open Ceremony of the 2nd Friendship Bridge at Mukdaharn by Princess Sirindhorn on Decemebr 20, 2006, Lao Prime Minister has asked Thai Prime Minister to build the following rialway lines for Laos -
1. Ning Khai - Tha Nalaeng - Wiangchan
(SO far the first 3.5 km is now under construction, further 9 km from Tha Nalaeng to Wiangchan will be under consideration)
2. Wiangchan - Pak Xan - Tha Kahek. This line is to make a connection with Nakhon Phanom
3. Tha Khaek - Vung Ahn Port (Vietnam) to make a connection with Vietnam. Tha Khaek is a port opposite of Nakhon Phanom.
The initial phase will be meter gauge to connect with Thai Railway and Standard Gauge will be added on to make a connection with China.
Furthermore, Thai Prime Minister and Lao Prime Minister have signed Memorandom of Understandings for the 3rd Friendship Bridge and the 4th Friendship Bridge Across Mekhong.
The 3rd Friendship Bridge will link Tha Khae with Nakhon Phanom while the 4th Friendship Bridge will link Huay Sai (Boh Kaeo province) with Chiang Khong
(Chiang Rai province).
The 3rd and the 4th Friendship Bridge should have railway track as the way to stimulate both contry to build the Railway line. These 2 Bridges will also compell Thai govenrnment to revive Bua Yai - Mukdaharn - Nakhon Phanom and Denchai - Chiang Rail - Chiang Khong which have been frozen for many years. However, Thai governemtn would have to ask either JBIC or China to finance these 2 railway projects.
October 16th, 2007, 08:54 AM
With plans to make region transport easier and more efficient
Transport ties likely to improve Less paperwork needed for crossings
By Wallapa Treeprapakorn Bkk Post 26/08/07
The cross-border transportation and distribution of goods between Laos, Vietnam and Thailand is expected to improve following the recent signing of the East-West Corridor pact.
Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongcha-um said the second Thai-Lao bridge linking Mukdahan and Savannakhet, part of the so-called East-West Corridor linking Burma-Thailand-Laos-Vietnam, will become a major transportation route in the Mekong region given that an increasing number of people are visiting the province from neighbouring countries. His comment followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding among the three countries in Savannakhet province.
The East-West Corridor stretches for nearly 1,500 kilometres across Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. It is the only land route that traverses mainland Southeast Asia on an east-west axis.
Mr Sansern said motorists who travel on this land link would be issued a special driving licence from the three countries. Traffic flow would also improve as motorists at present need to produce special documents for cross-border travel at border checkpoints. The process inconveniences motorists and causes traffic congestion.
October 16th, 2007, 09:01 AM
The third Mekong bridge will be at Nakhom Phanom with construction due to commence soon.
14/08/2007 -- 8:32 PM Vientiane (VNA) - Laos and Thailand have agreed to speed up work on the third friendship bridge spanning the Mekong River between the two countries.The bridge will link the Lao central province of Khammouane and Nakhon Phanom province of Thailand, further promoting economic integration, communication and tourism between the two countries.
The third Mekong friendship bridge was initially designed in 2005 with the Thai Government coming on board for the construction costs of 1.4 billion baht (43.97 million USD). The first friendship bridge over the Mekong River linking the Thai province of Nong Khai and Lao capital of Vientiane was opened in 1994. The second, which links the Lao province of Savannakhet and northeastern Thailand's Mukdahan province, opened to traffic last December.
Laos, Thailand agree to start “Third Friendship bridge”
(KPL) Laos and Thailand agreed last week to start as quick as possible the construction of the third Friendship Mekong bridge linking Laos’ central province of Khammouane and Nakhon Phanom (Thailand). According to last week’s seminar held in Nakhon Phanom, the bridge is to benefit the two provinces of the two countries and neighbouring countries. The government of Thailand has claimed to be responsible for the construction cost of over one billion baht while still allows its counterpart who faces the limitation of finance to contribute to the construction as much as it can.
“The possible Khammouane-Nakhon Phanom Friendship bridge is a connection between Laos and Thailand. It is determined in the economic-integration framework of Greater Mekong Sub region countries (GMS) and it is on the East-West Economic Corridor,” said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hiem Phommachan. The third Mekong friendship bridge was initiated in 2005 and became a cooperation project later. “The bridge is an important factor for the economic expansion of the two countries and their neighbouring Vietnam,” Mr Hiem furthered. “It will promote and expertise the economic integration, communication, and tourism of regional countries.”
Attending the function were also Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Bosengkham Vongdala, Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Nit Pibulsongkram, Viraphong Ramangkul Thai-Lao Friendship Association, diplomatic corps of two countries as well as the administrations of Khammouane and Nakhon Phanom.
October 16th, 2007, 09:10 AM
The 4th bridge (or 3rd bridge in some media) is the most important trade wise as it will link Thailand and Kunming province once a new highway being built in through Laos opens in late 2009.
Third bridge to be built across the Mekong ANUCHA CHAROENPO BKK Post 31/01/07
A third bridge will be built over the Mekong river, this time linking Chiang Rai with Huaysay in Laos, with China agreeing to share the cost equally with Thailand. The estimated price is US$31 million (1.085 billion baht). Deputy government spokesman Nattawat Suttiyotin said Thailand will be responsible for construction on the Thai side and Beijing will be responsible for the Lao side of the bridge. He could not say when the construction would begin. Further talks between Thai and Chinese officials were needed.
The cabinet passed a resolution on the cost-sharing budget for construction of the bridge on Dec 19 and directed the Commerce Ministry to propose the idea to China. Beijing recently informed Thailand in a letter that it agreed with the idea, he said. The cost-sharing approach to the bridge's construction was under the Greater Mekong Subregion scheme.
The bridge will start in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Mai, crossing to Huaysay town in the northern Lao province of Bokeo. It will be 630 metres long and 16.7 metres wide. The bridge will serve a road linking Thailand and China through Bokeo and Luang Namtha and boost trade in the subregion.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR Many local residents are still not convinced the project will take off Story by NAOWARAT SUKSAMRAN and SUBIN KHEUNKAEW BKK Post 18/02/07
Upon hearing the news that the cabinet had approved construction of a new Thai-Lao bridge over the Mekong River in Chiang Khong district, residents living around the bridge site responded with delight, convinced that the news would further boost land prices in the area. China has agreed to share the 1.09-billion-baht construction cost of the 400-metre-long bridge with Thailand under the Greater Mekong Sub-region scheme. The bridge, if constructed, will link Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong district and Houayxay, the capital of Bokeo province in Laos.
But many in Chiang Khong district are still not convinced the government would implement the project. "Will they really do it? We've heard about the project since the Chatichai Choonhavan government. We hear about the plan every now and then, but we've never seen the construction take off," said a resident of Don Mahawan community, which is adjacent to the bridge site on the Thai side. "And the government that has approved its construction is an interim one, not a permanent government," said another resident.
News about its planned construction has influenced the lives of local residents significantly over the past decade as land prices in communities around the bridge site, including the nearby Pak Ing Nua community, have steadily gone up. In those communities, the land is sold at between 400,000 and 500,000 baht per rai, while the land closer to the Mekong River bank can fetch up to one million baht per rai.
A tour operator in Chiang Khong said before the Chatichai Choonhavan government came up with the plan, land prices in Chiang Khong were only ranging between 4,000 and 5,000 baht per rai. Tempted by soaring land prices following the announcement of the bridge project by the Chatichai regime, most of the Don Mahawan and Pak Ing Nua residents then sold off their land to outsiders and turned themselves into tenants on the same plots. "I sold my land five years ago at 40,000 baht per rai," said 66-year-old Sa-nguan Khamtan. After selling his six-rai plot, he bought a car and gave the rest of the money to his children. Like his neighbours, he now lives on the six-rai plot he rents from the same person he sold the land to.
Panya Taengmo, another Don Mahawan resident, said whenever there is news that the government will soon build the bridge, land prices in his community shoot up again and then drop a bit after there is no sign of actual construction. Khamphan Thammawong, who runs a large business selling decorative stones in the neighbourhood, said his family members are snapping up more land after hearing the latest construction plan. Right now he owns more than three rai of land next to the river bank himself. Mr Khamphan believes the construction plan is for real this time as the Lao government has already expropriated land around the bridge site on the Lao side.
According to the tour operator, most owners of land around the bridge site are local and national politicians. However, some have purchased large land plots on behalf of Chinese business operators keen to build warehouses near the bridge. Prayuth Phothi, the Don Mahawan village headman, said 70% of the residents in his community have already sold their land. The locals make a living by collecting stones from the Mekong River and selling them as decorative stones for landscaping. Mr Prayuth said there is also a plan to build an industrial estate on a 16,000-rai plot in Tambon Sri Donmool, which would help to create more jobs. Since the collecting of stones from the river for sale is illegal, the bridge would make it easier for law enforcement authorities to see residents that are collecting stones from the river, said Mr Prayuth.
October 16th, 2007, 09:14 AM
More on the 4th bridge
Span offers good news and bad for remote district Critics see pollution, competition for jobs By Naowarat Suksamran & Subin Kheunkaew BKK Post 18/02/07
Economic fruits and social ills are shaping the outlook for a new ''Friendship Bridge'' to be built in the remote but tranquil district of Chiang Khong. The government hopes the bridge, linking Thailand and Laos across the Mekong River, will bolster the economy of the northern province. But civic groups suspect it may bring problems as well. ''We expect an increase in garbage and other pollutants,'' said Prapai Prasert, assistant chairwoman of the Tambon Wiang Administration Organisation. Her agency expects to make money from the bridge, expected to take three years to build.
Tambon Wiang could collect more taxes from a warehouse and goods-loading spots near the bridge. This would boost tax revenues, which currently rely solely on a Thai lignite company which transports lignite from Laos to its factory in Thailand. ''We also expect an increase in visitors,'' Mrs Prapai said.
''We need to build facilities for tourism and restaurants,'' she added. Civic groups want to protect what they call a ''peaceful town.'' They want to avoid a repeat of what happened in the neighbouring districts of Chiang Saen and Mae Sai, said former Chiang Rai senator and social activist Tuenchai Deetes.
Those places have become commercial districts and are gradually losing their links with the past. ''We will encounter changes that affect our lifestyle when we open the door to economic prosperity,'' said Ms Tuenchai, a leader of the We Love Chiang Khong group. The group once protested against dam construction on the Mekong in China and rapids blasting in the same river to make passage for boats easier. The projects could threaten water ecology in the Mekong, say environmentalists.
The Thai government will start building the bridge later this year. It is part of a bigger transport network, including a road linking Jinghong in southern China and Houayxay town in Laos, opposite Chiang Khong district. The section linking China and Laos is already finished. Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce chairman Pattana Sitthisombat said Thailand would eventually become an outlet for cheap Chinese goods and local sellers would suffer if they could not produce better quality products to compete. Cheap labourers from China could also enter the labour market in Thailand and vie for jobs with Thais, Mrs Prapai added.
Elsewhere, however, people welcome the prospect of increased trade. An information technology upgrade is planned to help investors in Mae Sai, Chiang Saen, and Chiang Khong districts. Almost 10 schools in Chiang Rai municipality have opened Chinese courses on trade and investment for students. Changes are unavoidable, but villagers could deal with them well if they strive to live within their means and avoid becoming addicted to consumerism, Mr Pattana said.
Thailand, Laos discuss new bridges - 17/04/07
(TNA) - Thailand and Laos affirm that no obstacles will be encountered in building the third and fourth Thai-Lao 'friendhip' bridges respectively. Both will be completed in 2011 as planned. Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram met Lao Deputy Prime Minister Thonglun Sisulid regarding the progress of the bridges construction at his office in Bangkok.
The third bridge will connect Thailand's northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom with Thakhek in Laos' Khammuan province. The fourth bridge will connect Chiang Mai's Chiangkhong with Huayxai district in the Lao province of Borkaew. Following the talk, a spokesperson of the Lao Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thailand will contribute half the construction cost of the Chiang Mai-Borkaew bridge, and Laos has sought a Chinese government loan for the balance.
China's President Hu Jintao earlier confirmed his government's readiness to provide financial support, according to the Lao spokesperson. Thailand requested nine more months to complete the bridge design, after which construction will begin, and will take about four years. Laos considers the northern bridge as very important because it connects Chiang Rai and Kunming, a highly important road link for Asean countries in the future.
As for the southern Thai-Lao bridge, land must still be expropriated on the Thai side, but can be done soon, the Lao spokesperson said. Pending settlement, construction is expected to start at the end of this year or early next year, and is likely to be completed before the fourth bridge.
Tharit Jarungwat, spokesman of Thailand's Foreign Affairs Ministry, said that the Lao Foreign Minister had invited his Thai counterpart to visit Laos and participate in a meeting of the Thai-Lao joint committee. The Lao government will host the next construction progress report meeting
October 16th, 2007, 09:14 AM
Expert urges speedy Thai-Laos bridge work ARANEE JAIIMSIN Bkk Post 16/10/07
Thailand should accelerate the construction of the third Thai-Laos bridge crossing Mekong River so that it is finished by mid-2010 to prevent the loss of trade opportunities, says a logistics expert. Thailand and China are jointly building the two-billion-baht bridge and splitting the construction cost, said Pongchai Athikomrattanakul, a logistics affairs adviser to the Commerce Minister. Construction on the Thai side of the river has begun and is projected to finish in 2011.
The new bridge would help connect Kunming in China to Laos and Thailand. Furthermore, if the agreement between China and Asean on developing inland transport is signed, the route would extend to Malaysia and Singapore, eventually forming the North-South Economic Corridor. The completed highway would shorten road travel time from Kunming to Bangkok to 20 hours from 42 hours currently. The 2011 completion date for the Thai link should be moved up if possible since the highway linking Kunming with Laos would be ready in 2009, said Dr Pongchai, who is also the director of the Center for Logistics Excellence at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thon Buri.
The new government should therefore speed up construction because the new route would bring business opportunities to trucking companies, particularly those who can carry construction materials, as well as consumer products, to supply Chinese development projects in Kunming, said Dr Pongchai. He also called on the government to reconsider the plan to add a railway to the third Thai-Laos bridge since it would delay the construction process and increase the construction cost dramatically.
There is no railway in Laos while China only has a 50-kilometre railway from Kunming at present. The total distance for a railway system from Kunming to Bangkok is around 1,000 km, noted Dr Pongchai.
From Bkk Post 18/02/07
November 29th, 2007, 10:23 AM
Mukdahan bridge from Savannakhet side (looking north)
View from Laos immigration
December 3rd, 2007, 06:42 PM
Chinese open B1bn hotel in Chiang Rai near Laos border Bkk POST 03/12/07
A group of Chinese investors has launched a hotel project worth around one billion baht in the northern province of Chiang Rai. Chie Chou International, a Yunnan-based company registered in Thailand in June this year, plans to construct a 300-room hotel and other facilities on a 60-rai plot on the bank of the Mekong River in Chiang Khong district, according to project manager Nivat Teeprueksa.
The development aims to tap the anticipated economic boom along the North South Economic Corridor where a third Thailand-Laos bridge worth 180 million baht would be built to link Chiang Khong with Huay Sai subdistrict in Laos.
Bridge construction costs will be split equally by China and Thailand. The road, known as 3R, is almost completed and is open for trial service. ''It takes only three hours for people who want to travel from Huay Sai to China's border by car,'' Mr Nivat said. The Chie Chou site, located three kilometres from the third bridge, is expected to be completed in two years. It comprises the eight-storey hotel, a mini golf course, resort and helicopter landing pad.
He said the company also planned to begin work on a major logistics centre after it finishes building the hotel. Located just south of the bridge, the centre will also be a joint venture between Chinese and Thai investors. D.V. Fong, president of Chie Chou International, said he was happy to help with Thailand's economic development.
March 29th, 2008, 12:10 PM
A route to prosperity Bkk Post Business, 29/03/08
The R3a highway holds plenty of promise, but certain issues need to be sorted out first, writes Walailak Keeratipipatpong
The launch of the modern highway R3a linking China, Laos and Thailand is expected to substantially raise economic prosperity in the region through increased trade and investments. Local businessmen estimate that the route, linking Thailand through the yet-to-be-built Thai-Lao bridge in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai and Houei Xai district of Bokeo province in Laos, will help bolster Chiang Rai's trade with neighbouring countries by tenfold to 100 billion baht in the next decade.
The Thai government is also planning about eight billion baht worth of infrastructure projects to foster further development, among them the new bridge in Chiang Khong. Significant improvements have been made to the infrastructure and facilities initiated under the Greater Mekong Sub-region in recent years, with the latest being the completion of the about 250 kilometres of the R3a highway, which will be opened officially on Monday. While the development has delighted the business community, question remain as to how all sides can make the most out of this transport system to assist border trade.
Differences in customs procedures, as well as the unsettled issue of revenue sharing from the fee collected for the use of the Thailand-Laos bridge linking Mukdahan and Savannakhet, are likely to inhibit the new route's potential. For example, cargoes from China to Thailand would have to pass different customs checks, including those in Vietnam and Laos. Such inconveniences and the time-consuming process will definitely cost traders more.
Acknowledging the problem, the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce is planning to propose a single-stop inspection system for goods shipped through the R3a route. The system requires all involved countries to harmonise their customs procedures and private companies are being urged to team up and register as a safeguard and risk-management measure.
The chamber's chairman, Pattana Sitthisombat, said that once everything was sorted out, an inspection of shipments at the Chinese distribution centre would be enough and the goods would not need to be checked again in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Mr Pattana, who also heads the Quadrangle Economic Development Business Committee that groups 10 provincial chambers of commerce in the north of Thailand, suggested the government urgently address the problem before R3a becomes widely used.
August 21st, 2008, 08:16 PM
Suspension of the third Mekong bridge due to rising costs - undated
(KPL) The planned construction project of the third Lao-Thai Friendship Mekong River Bridge between central Khammouane province of Laos and Nakhon Phanom province of northeastern Thailand has been put on hold due to the high price of construction materials.
After the completion of the second Lao-Thai Friendship Mekong River Bridge in Savannakhet province, the Lao and Thai governments decided to build a third bridge, the Third Lao-Thai Friendship Mekong River Bridge. It will connect Veuntay village, Khammouane province, Laos, with Hom village, Nakhon Phanom province in Thailand.
Mr Nongsavanh Thammavong, Deputy Director of the Third Lao-Thai Friendship Mekong River Bridge Construction Project in Khammouane province told KPL news yesterday that the survey and design of the third bridge was completed in early 2008 and construction work should commence soon. However, because of the sudden increase in the prices of construction materials the project might be delayed for two months, he added. He also said that after the announcement of the tender, many Thai construction firms bought the bid envelopes and submitted them but they would not be opened because of the economic situation.
According to the time table, the construction work should commence in September 2008 and its completion date should be 2011.The Thai government has agreed to invest 1,400 billion baht in the construction of this bridge, 780 metres long and 7 metres wide.
If the bridge completed officially it would increase opportunities in trade, investment, tourism and transport between Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. This bridge will facilitate transport and communication to Vietnam, Vientiane and southern provinces of Laos.
Thanks to Khun GWR on 2 bangkok for the alert!
August 23rd, 2008, 07:39 PM
Irregularities suspected over push for dam
Senators and environmentalists suspect irregularities involving the planned construction of the 120-billion-baht hydro-power dam on the Mekong river being pushed by the Samak Sundaravej administration.
Their focus is on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama and the Laotian deputy prime minister and foreign minister in March to jointly build the dam on the world's 12th longest river.
They say the signing of the MoU bypassed parliamentary approval and the government had failed to take into account public participation, particularly villagers affected by the dam construction.
Mr Noppadon also agreed with the Laotian proposal to commission Italian-Thai Development Plc to conduct the feasibility study of the project without holding a proper bidding contest as required under Thai law.
Senator Prasarn Marukpitak, who chairs a senate panel probing alleged irregularities involving the Ban Koum dam project, yesterday submitted a motion against Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag, asking him to explain why the government had signed the MoU so hastily with Laos.
The MoU was signed on Mar 25_less than two months after the Samak cabinet took office.
Mr Tej said the project was in line with the two governments' previous agreement to develop hydro-power plants in the Mekong river basin which would help secure economic development in both countries.
''The electricity produced by the dam would help boost Laos' income, and at the same time, increase Thailand's energy supply,'' he said.
Regarding the selection of Italian-Thai Development Plc to conduct the feasibility study without following state regulations and procedures laid down for contracting private firms, Mr Tej said this should not cause any damage to the country because the firm agreed to conduct the study free of charge.
The foreign minister, however, said the two countries were still a long way off from deciding whether the dam should be built. The final decision, he said, would be made after the firm completes its feasibility and environment and health impact assessment studies, expected to take around 30 months.
The dam, if built, would be the first on the lower Mekong river.
Villagers living along the Mekong river banks in Ubon Ratchathani's Khong Chiam district, where the dam would be built, have protested against the construction for fear it would destroy their livelihood and the fragile ecology of the river.
Proposed by the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency in 2005, the dam will be built on the Mekong river in Thalong village of Khong Chiam district, opposite Koum Noi village in Champassak province of Laos.
It is expected to produce 1,872 megawatts of electricity.
The dam's reservoir is expected to inundate over 84,000 rai of farmland and Mekong riverside communities in Khong Chiam and Khemarat districts.
Some riverside areas in Laos would be submerged as well.
According to Pitpibul Lakhonwong, deputy headman of Thalong village, the dam would uproot everything they have if the project is implemented.
The villagers might face forced relocation as the village would be turned into a huge construction site.
The dam will completely destroy the Mekong river, which means the destruction of the villagers' livelihood as they were dependent on fisheries and riverside agricultural activities, he said.
''We are very happy with our life today. We are not rich, but we have abundant food. Our village is small, but it is peaceful. We don't want the dam,'' he said.
June 13th, 2009, 04:05 PM
Construction of the Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River (05/03/2009) Thai PRD
Thailand and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic already jointly operate two bridges across the Mekong River, and a new bridge, the third of its kind, will soon be constructed, with the foundation-stone laying ceremony scheduled for Friday, 6 March 2009.
The Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge will link Hom village in At Samat subdistrict, Mueang district, Nakhon Phanom province in northeastern Thailand, with Veuntayvillage, Khammouan province in Laos.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the foundation-stone laying ceremony on March 6. The ceremony will take place at two spots, one at Veuntay village in Khammouan, at 3:00 p.m., and the other at Hom village in Nakhon Phanom, at 4:00 p.m. Lao Vice President Bounngang Vorachit, will represent Lao PDR at the ceremony.
Also present at the official groundbreaking ceremony will be Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, and ministers and high-ranking officials from both sides.
Thailand is responsible for the construction cost of the Third Friendship Bridge, which is estimated at 1,761 million baht. The concrete bridge will be 788 meters long and 13 meters wide. It will require a period of 30 months for the construction. When completed, the cross-border facility will become a new land route bringing Thailand and Laos closer together.
The bridge will facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and people from Thailand to Laos and vice versa. It will create business opportunities and generate economic activities between the two countries, especially in trade, investment, and tourism. Apart from Thailand and Laos, this bridge will also make it easier for Thailand to connect with Vietnam, another country in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Thailand and Laos officially opened the First Friendship Bridge, linking Nong Khai in northeastern Thailand with the Lao capital of Vientiane, on 8 April 1994. The Second Friendship Bridge, linking Mukdahan, also in northeastern Thailand, with the central Lao province of Savannakhet, was opened on 20 December 2006.
The operations of the bridges across the Mekong River have played a vital role in promoting relations between Thailand and neighboring countries. They have also boosted cross-border trade.
From January to November 2008, cross-border trade between Thailand and Laos totaled almost 73 billion baht. It is expected to increase by 25 percent in 2009. Many Thai products, especially consumer goods, machinery, and IT products, are still in great demand in Laos. Thailand now ranks first among Laos’ trading partners and it still remains the largest foreign investor in Laos.
Nakhon Phanom University news 09/03/09
On March 6, 2009, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn laid the foundation stone of the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River (Nakhon Phanom-Khammouane) Construction Project at Baanhom, Arjsamard Sub-district, Muang District, Nakhon Phanom Province. Other important dignitaries who attended the ceremony were Mr. Boonyoung Worlajit, Vice President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Boonsanong Boonmee, Governor of Nakhon Phanom, together with numerous government officials. The general public also attended in significant numbers.
The Thai site of the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (Nakhon Phanom-Khammouane) is situated at Baanhom, Arjsamard Sub-district, Muang District, Nakhon Phanom Province, while its Lao counterpart site is situated at Baan Werntai, Muanthaka, Khammouane District, the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The bridge will be an integral part of the Asian Highway which links the Northeastern Part of Thailand with the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Central Part of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Route 12 to Hatinh City with Laos and Route 8 at Brikhamsai District, the Lao People's Democratic Republic with Winh City. On its completion, the bridge will provide the shortest access route to the sea - approximately 300 kilometers - via the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge will be another important link in the Mekhong Sub-region. It will facilitate transportation and stimulate the economy along Thai-Lao border, in turn leading to the expansion of economic cooperation, commerce, investment and tourism between Thailand, Laos and the Mekhong Sub-region. It will also facilitate multi-lateral cooperation and economic cooperation in the Mekhong Sub-region. In so doing, it will bring great benefits to Thai, Lao and the Mekhong Sub-region peoples as a whole.
The Thai government has approved the budget of 1,760 million baht for the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge construction project. Regarding its dimensions, the bridge is 1,423.10 meters long and 13 meters wide. The Italian-Thai Public Company Limited is the contractor and it will take 30 months to complete the bridge construction.
December 16th, 2009, 09:33 AM
Abhisit calls for railway across bridge, BKK Post 14/12/2009
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is hoping to lay a railway track across the third Thai-Lao friendship bridge - but the latest studies show it might be too late to adjust the structure.
The bridge is being built across the Mekong River at Nakhon Phanom. Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum yesterday said Mr Abhisit had ordered the ministry to adapt the new bridge to accommodate a railway. The 1.76 billion baht bridge will link Nakhon Phanom with Khammouan province in Laos when it is completed, possibly in November 2011.
Mr Sohpon said the prime minister wanted the bridge to serve as both a land and rail link and was "very serious" about the project. But permanent secretary for transport Supoj Saplom said it could already be too late to change the blueprint as it could cause structural problems. The structural beams were designed to carry a maximum weight of 14.5 tonnes. Adding rail tracks could overstretch the bridge's weight absorption capacity.
Also, the bridge would be too steep for trains to climb and adding railway tracks could repeat the design flaw in the first Thai-Lao bridge, in Nong Khai, he said. The tracks had made the bridge too narrow for vehicles to run alongside the trains. The car lanes need to be closed whenever a train uses the bridge, Mr Supoj said.
He said the construction of the bridge had progressed significantly and any major changes now would be impractical. A sensible option, he said, was to build a separate bridge for trains although this would depend on negotiations with Laos.
The first bridge linking Thailand with Laos opened in 1994, connecting Nong Khai and Vientiane. A second bridge opened about a year ago linking Mukdahan with Savannakhet in southern Laos.
The third friendship bridge will be part of the so-called Asian Highway linking the Northeast with Laos and the central region of Vietnam. It would provide the shortest transport route to the sea port in Vinh city of Vietnam. The project is entirely funded by Thailand.
June 6th, 2012, 01:59 PM
now, we have 3 friendship bridges across mekhong + 1 friendship bridge across Hueang river - the 4th still undere construction - wish to have the 5th friendship bridges across mekhong for Bueng Karn - Pak Xan