The Transport Ministry will push for a 4-billion THB investment in two new bridges over the Mekong River linking Thailand with Laos.

Transport Ministry Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Tuesday the 5th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge linking Thailand’s Bung Kan with Laos’ Borikhamsay with an investment cost of 2.5 billion THB was discussed during the transport ministerial meeting between Thailand and Laos on Monday.

The project was expected to be forwarded for cabinet approval and the contract could be signed next week for the 6th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge linking Ubon Ratchathani with Salavan province.

The construction design has already been completed and the project will be tabled for cabinet approval soon, said Mr Arkhom.  

Other issues discussed at the meeting were the repairs of the Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (Nakhon Phanom-Khammouane) and the Fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (Chiang Khong-Huay Xai).  The repair works were expected to begin in June, said the transport minister.

A memorandum of cooperation has already been signed on the development of a rail line linking Thailand with Laos under the cooperation of Thailand, Laos and China, and on the construction of a rail bridge across the Mekong River.

China will work out a design plan for the rail bridge in conformity with the design of the friendship bridge, while Thailand will consider the design feasibility before construction begins.

On the development of the second phase of the Thai-Lao rail link (Tha Na Laeng-Vientiane), the State Railway of Thailand will work closely with Lao railway authorities on the arrangement of freight trains between the two countries and train itineraries, said the minister.