VIENTIANE, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Lao and Thai governments are planning to build another "friendship" bridge to link their countries across the Mekong river, bringing Vientiane province closer to the neighboring Thai province of Loei, according to the governor of Vientiane province.
Vientiane provincial authorities had proposed the project to the government for its consideration, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Governor of Vientiane province Khamphan Sithidampha as reporting.
"We are conducting a study on the location of the bridge, to decide whether it should be in Sanakham or Meun district," Khamphan said.
Khamphan Sithidampha, who was appointed as the governor of Vientiane province two months ago, said provincial authorities had also asked the government to upgrade local border crossings in the province with Loei province, so they become full international crossings.
Khamphan was unable to give a timeframe for the start of construction of the bridge, saying that the Lao and Thai governments were still discussing the matter.
With help from the Australian government, Laos and Thailand completed the construction of the first bridge across the Mekong, linking Lao capital Vientiane to the neighboring Thai province of Nong Khai, in 1994. The bridge is a symbol of "opening up" policy of Laos.
The success of this bridge inspired the Lao and Thai governments to build other bridges linking their countries across the Mekong in the following years.
At present, there are four Lao-Thai bridges spanning the Mekong and an agreement has been signed for the construction of another bridge linking Borikhamxay province with the Thai province of Bueng Kan.
Khamphan said construction of the bridge and the upgrade of border crossings between Vientiane province in Laos and Loie province in Thailand would provide a significant boost for domestic and foreign investment. He said Vientiane province was an attractive investment destination because of its location, which provides a gateway to neighboring provinces and to Lao capital Vientiane, which has huge market potential.
The province is attractive to investors because of its popularity as a tourist destination, with Vangvieng district being a major tourist hotspot thanks to its dramatic karst landscape and scenic river environment, Khamphan said.