VIENTIANE, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Laos and Thailand are planning to start work on a sixth bridge to link the two countries across the Mekong River in 2023, linking Saravan province, some 670 km southeast of capital Vientiane, to Ubon Ratchathani province in northeast Thailand, Lao media reported.
Once built, the sixth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge is expected to boost border trade and investment and promote tourism between two countries.
The survey and design of the bridge had been finalized, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Public Works and Transport's Road Department under The Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Litta Khattiya, as saying.
"The governments of Laos and Thailand have approved the design of the bridge," Litta said, adding that if everything goes to plan work on the bridge will begin in 2023 and the structure will be completed in 2025.
Litta said the construction cost would be financed by Thailand's Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) through a mix of grant aid and loans.
The 1.02-km bridge will connect Road No. 13 South in Nakhonpheng district, Saravan province, to Thailand's Highway 2112 in Na Tan district, Ubon Ratchathani province.
The planned bridge will not only connect eastern Thailand to the south of Laos but will also create a link to central Vietnam and serve as an economic corridor for the whole region.
The bridge will spur the government's efforts to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land link within the region, which should cut the cost of transport and accelerate development in southern Laos, said the report.
When the bridge is open to traffic, Saravan province will be fully connected to a regional economic corridor.
There are currently four bridges linking Laos and Thailand across the Mekong River. Construction of a fifth bridge to link Borikhamxay province and Thailand's Bueng Kan province across the Mekong River is likely to begin later in 2020 and will take three years to build. Enditem