Construction of the 5th Thai-Lao friendship bridge linking the northeastern province of Bueng Kan with Laos’ western township of Pakxan in Bolikhamsai province is likely to commence this year-end with the Ministry of Transport expecting to seek budget from the government in October.
Land clearing for the construction of a road heading to the site of the 3.6 billion THB bridge project in Bueng Kan province has already started with land along the road being expropriated and landowners compensated. Rubber trees along the route have also been felled for the road construction. Bueng Kan governor Phisut Busayapanpong said that Bueng Kan has the logistic capacity to cater to the increased passenger and cargo traffic in Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom once the two provinces are linked by dual track train system and high-speed train system with Bangkok.
He said the people of Bueng Kan had the expectation that the new friendship bridge linking the province with Pakxan in Laos would boost trade, investment and tourism in the province and help improve its economy. Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 1 (Nong Khai – Vientiane) completed in 1994 The bridge will also facilitate the flow of goods and people from northeastern Thailand through Laos into Vietnam and southern China and vice versa.
The volume of border trade in Bueng Kan for the first six months of this fiscal year amounted to 4.7 billion THB with Thai exports accounting for 3 billion THB. With the completion of the bridge, Bueng Kan Customs Office expects that border trade will multiply to about 30 billion THB per annum.