Construction of the Fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Begins
The Thai-Lao Friendship bridge built with Australian funding, crossing the Mekong River. Photo by Australia DFAT (CC BY 2.0) .
The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is being constructed, following the signing of the construction agreement in December 2020. It will connect Bolikhamxay province in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Bueng Kan in Thailand. The project is set to transform Bolikhamxay into a regional trade hub and transit route for Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It could potentially increase the subregion's tourism and attract more trade and investment for Lao PDR.
This co-investment project has a budget of THB 3.9 billion (around $130 million). Thailand will invest about THB 2.6 billion (around $86 million) and Lao PDR will contribute THB 1.3 billion (around $43 million). The bridge is expected to be completed within 36 months in 2023.
Lao PDR is the only nation bordering all the other five GMS member countries and crisscrossed by three regional economic corridors. It has huge potential to play a key role as a major trade thoroughfare both within the Mekong region and the ASEAN.