Fifth Thai-Lao bridge to open next year hinh anh 1Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, right, and his then-Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh preside over a groundbreaking ceremony for the fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Bung Kan province in October, 2022 (Photo: bangkokpost)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai government on January 28 announced that the fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is set to open early next year which should help boost border exchanges not only between localities between Thailand and Laos but also trade in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), as it will speed up imports between Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China (Yunnan).

The bridge, which connects the Thai northeast province of Bueng Kan and Laos' Bolikhamsay province, costs 3.6 billion THB (nearly 110 million USD), of which 2.5 billion THB comes from Thailand and the rest from Laos.

According to deputy government spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana, the construction is 60% complete and proceeding faster than planned. The project is expected to open to traffic early next year.

Tipanan said the bridge will help facilitate transport over a distance of 150km from Thailand to Vietnam via Laos. It is the shortest transport route from Thailand to Vietnam.

The first four bridges over the Mekong River serve the Nong Khai–Vientiane, Mukdahan–Savannakhet, Nakhon Phanom–Khammouane, and Chiang Khong–Huay Xai routes./.