LAO PDR (Vientiane Times) - Two new bridges that have been officially opened on National Road No. 9 in Savannakhet province are expected to improve business and investment opportunities for local communities and facilitate faster, more reliable trade and transport routes in and out of the country.
The opening ceremony for the bridges took place on Monday. It was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Souphanh Keomixay, and Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Viengsavath Siphandone. State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ms Toshiko Abe, Japanese Ambassador to Laos, Mr Takeshi Hikihara and JICA Laos Office Chief Representative, Mr Yoshiharu Yoneyama were also notable guests along with officials from Savannakhet province. Construction of the two bridges began in January 2017 and both were completed on schedule. Their projected cost came in at 194 billion kip (2.528 million yen), a figure that included consultancy services and construction. Funding for the bridges came via a grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Lao government, the latter contributing 12 billion kip, Deputy Project Director, Mr Khammanh Senphimmachack, said. The two concrete and steel bridges span the Xekoumkam and Xethamuak rivers along National Road No. 9. This road intersects with both the Thai and Vietnamese borders and is the main trade route linking Laos with its two neighbours. The Xekoumkam Bridge is located at Km 123 in Nonsa-art village, Phalanxay district and was designed and built to international standards. It is 90 metres long, 10.30 metres wide, has two traffic lanes and pedestrian sidewalks. The Xethamuak Bridge is located at Km 140 in Oudomxay village, Phin district. This bridge is 160 metres long and 11.80 metres wide, also with two traffic lanes and sidewalks. The two bridges have a load-bearing capacity of more than 11 tonnes and are surfaced with good quality asphalt. Authorities expect the bridges to bring economic benefits to the country because of the faster flow of goods they will enable between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.