Laos has proposed three additional Mekong River bridges to boost trade and tourism with neighbouring Thailand.
Vientiane Times reported that the government had proposed bridges at Bolikhamsai and Bueng Kan, Salavan and Ubon Ratchathani, and Vientiane province with Loei province.
According to Ministry of Public Works and Transport, proposed construction of the fifth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge linking Laos’ Bolikhamsai province and Thailand’s Bueng Kan province is now awaiting confirmation of funding while the survey and design have been completed.
There is little evidence that the bridges support tourism growth when compared to the former ferry services. It now costs more to cross via the bridge and in some instances the bus transfer is not as convenient and takes more time than the ferry.
The ministry’s Planning and Cooperation Department deputy director, Phetsamone Viraphanh, was quoted saying Laos had submitted a request to Thailand’s Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) for funding.
Construction of the fifth Mekong Bridge will begin soon once the country receives funding, he said.