A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sunday for the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge that will play a key role in the East-West Economic Corridor traversing continental Southeast Asia.
The ceremony for the bridge linking the Myanmar border town of Myawaddy and the Thai town of Mae Sot was attended by government leaders of both countries.
Construction costs have been budgeted at 640 million baht (about US$17.8 million), to be borne by the Thai side. It is scheduled to be completed in 2017.
It is expected to reduce traffic congestion at the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, which sometimes takes cargo vehicles half a day to cross.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said at the ceremony that the bridge will promote trade between the two countries. Representing the Myanmar side, Vice President U Nyan Tun said it will usher in a new era of bilateral ties.
The East-West Economic Corridor is to extend 1,700 kilometres as a continuous land route between the South China Sea and Andaman Sea, connecting Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
Together with the North-South Economic Corridor linking Thailand and China, it is expected to be a symbol of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community set to be launched later this year.