Laos and Myanmar to Begin Building Friendship Bridge

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Laos and Myanmar will begin building a friendship bridge across the Mekong River next month, providing the first road link between the two neighbouring countries with the aim of boosting trade, investment and travel in the region. Minister of Public Works and Transport Mr Sommad Pholsena led a Lao delegation to Myanmar for talks on January 8-10 to discuss the bridge construction project with Myanmar officials.
It was decided that a ground-breaking ceremony for the bridge will take place next month, linking the Xiengkok river port in Luang Namtha province in Laos with Kainglap in Myanmar. The bridge will be 660 metres in length and 9 metres wide excluding sidewalks, but it is unclear how much the project will cost or when it will be completed as the bidding process is yet to be concluded.​
During bilateral talks which took place on January 9, the two sides discussed and agreed upon various technical aspects of the bridge. The Lao border with Myanmar is defined by the Mekong River, which flows from southern China to the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. The two countries established diplomatic ties in July, 1955, but the volume of trade between Laos and Myanmar is small compared to that with Laos’ other neighbours.​
The leaders of the two countries agreed that the bridge will help to boost the volume of commodity flows between Laos and Myanmar and facilitate business and tourism activities in the area. In fact, the leaders of Laos and Myanmar have been planning a friendship bridge for a decade or so , to allow their peoples to trade and make visits. The project became more realistic when Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong visited Myanmar in 2011 to discuss the bridge and improved road connectivity between the two countries.​
The long awaited construction agreement between the two governments was signed early last year. During his visit to Myanmar, Mr Sommad called on Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein to further their cooperative and good neighbourly relations. The Lao minister thanked the Myanmar president for his warm welcome and for his advice regarding the construction of the friendship bridge.​
Mr Sommad also informed the president about the outcome of the bilateral talks which agreed to set the date of the ground-breaking ceremony for next month, to mark the start of construction. It is envisaged that the bridge will not only boost trade and investment but will also lead to mutual understanding between the peoples of Laos and Myanmar, which will enhance cooperation in the years to come.



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[h=1]ຫາລືໂຄງການກໍ່ສ້າງຂົວຂ້າມນ້ຳຂອງມິດຕະພາບ ລາວ-ມຽນມາ[/h] ໂດຍຕອບສະໜອງຕາມຄຳເຊີນຂອງ ທ່ານ ຈໍ ລິນ ລັດຖະມົນຕີວ່າການ ກະຊວງກໍ່ສ້າງແຫ່ງ ສ.ມຽນມາ ທ່ານ ສົມມາດ ພົນເສນາ
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ລະຫວ່າງວັນທີ 8-10 ມັງກອນ 2013 ໂດຍມີຈຸດປະສົງເພື່ອສືບຕໍ່ປຶກສາຫາລືກັບກະຊວງກໍ່ສ້າງ ສ.ມຽນມາ ກ່ຽວກັບການຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິ
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(ສ.ມຽນມາ) ກອງປະຊຸມພົບປະສອງຝ່າຍຄັ້ງນີ້ ໄດ້ຈັດຂຶ້ນໃນວັນທີ 9 ມີນາ 2013 ທີ່ຫ້ອງປະຊຸມກະຊວງກໍ່ສ້າງ ນະຄອນຫຼວງເນປີຕໍ
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ວາງສີລາລືກເປີດການກໍ່ສ້າງຂົວດັ່ງກ່າວ ຊຶ່ງຈະໄດ້ຈັດຂຶ້ນໃນວັນທີ 16 ກຸມພາ 2013 ທີ່ຈະມາເຖິງນີ້.
ໃນໂອກາດຢ້ຽມຢາມຄະນະຜູ້ແທນກະຊວງ ຍທຂ ຍັງໄດ້ເຂົ້າຢ້ຽມຂໍ່ານັບພະນະທ່ານ ປະທານາທິບໍດີ ເທນ ເຊນ ແຫ່ງ ສ.ມຽນມາ
ເຊິ່ງທ່ານປະທານາທິບໍດີ ໄດ້ຕີລາຄາສູງຕໍ່ສາຍພົວພັນມິດຕະພາບ ແລະ ການຮ່ວມມືລະຫວ່າງ ລາວ-ມຽນມາ ເປັນສອງປະເທດບ້ານ
ໃກ້ເຮືອນຄຽງ ແລະ ເປັນເພື່ອນມິດທີ່ດີນຳກັນມາແຕ່ດົນນານ ແລະ ໄດ້ຊົມເຊີຍຕໍ່ການມາເຮັດວຽກຂອງຄະນະຜູ້ແທນກະຊວງ ຍທຂ
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ການຄົມມະນາຄົມ-ຂົນສົ່ງ ກໍຄືການໄປມາຫາສູ່ຂອງປະຊາຊົນສອງຊາດ ລາວ-ມຽນມາ ແລະ ກັບບັນດາປະເທດໃກ້ຄຽງ ເປັນຕົ້ນແມ່ນ
ສ.ສ ຫວຽດນາມ ແລະ ສປ.ຈີນ ເພື່ອຊຸກຍູ້ສົ່ງເສີມການຄ້າ ການລົງທຶນ ແລະ ການທ່ອງທ່ຽວຮ່ວມກັນ ແລະ ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ທັງສອງ
ຝ່າຍ ລາວ-ມຽນມາ ໃຫ້ມີການປະສານສົມທົບກັນ ເພື່ອເຮັດໃຫ້ການກໍ່ສ້າງຂົວດັ່ງກ່າວ ສໍາເລັດໄວຕາມແຜນການ ສຳລັບຝ່າຍລາວ
ໄດ້ສະແດງຄວາມຂອບໃຈເປັນຢ່າງສູງຕໍ່ທ່ານປະທານາທິບໍດີ ເທນ ເຊນ ທີ່ໄດ້ໃຫ້ການຕ້ອນຮັບ ແລະ ໃຫ້ການຊີ້ນຳຊຸກຍູ້ຕໍ່ໂຄງການ
ດັ່ງກ່າວເປັນພິເສດ ພ້ອມທັງໄດ້ແຈ້ງໃຫ້ທ່ານຜູ້ນຳສູງສຸດຂອງມຽນມາຊາບ ກ່ຽວກັບການປຶກສາຫາລືກັບກະຊວງກໍ່ສ້າງມຽນມາ ໂດຍທັງ
ສອງຝ່າຍສາມາດຕົກລົງບັນຫາຕ່າງໆໄດ້ຕາມຄາດໝາຍ ພ້ອມທັງການກະກຽມວາງສີລາລືກເປີດການກໍ່ສ້າງຂົວດັ່ງກ່າວ ໃນວັນທີ 16
ກຸມພາ 2013 ນີ້.



Thanks to Mac for spotting this

Laos and Myanmar to Begin Building Friendship Bridge
 

2wheels

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Wow!
That is very significant.
In a way though, I'm glad to have seen Xieng Khok before it become permanently changed.

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Was on Friday in Xiengkok and lots of police running around in big flashy cars as the ground breaking ceremony for the bridge was to be held the next day. Not sure how busy this crossing will be - on both sides of the river the roads are 3 meter wide dirt roads - but I guess that the Chinese (who probably will pay for the construction of the bridge) will benefit most as they will get access to Myanmar's natural resources.
 

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(KPL) Construction of the new US $18 million Mekong Friendship Bridge linking Laos and Myanmar is almost 13% complete. The bridge is a joint investment between the two governments, which began in mid-February 2013. Director of the Lao-Myanmar Mekong River Friendship Bridge Construction Project, Mr. Xaysongkham Manotham said last week that, "the construction work on both sides is progressing well. The bridge is already of 12.68% complete." Earlier in July, the two countries agreed to hire Chinese construction company Hanson Industry Co. Ltd to produce and supply steel girders and other necessary materials for the bridge's construction. Signatories to the document were the Road and Bridge Department of Ministry of Lao Public Works and Transport and the Public Works Department of Construction Ministry of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The signing ceremony was held in Luang Prabang. Under the agreement, the contractor must supply tools and equipment for assembling the girders, which will begin early this month. The bridge bar alone is worth US$3.96 million and will be completed within six months.

The Lao-Myanmar Friendship Bridge will be located at Houa Koum Village, about 15km north of Xiangkok Village in Long district, Luang Namtha. On the Myanmar side, the bridge sits 500m south of Kenglap, Thachilek District, Shan State. The bridge is designed to be 691.8 m long and 10.9 m wide, including two vehicle lanes and sidewalks on either side. Construction will run for 30 months with the bridge to be completed by August 2015.

Adapted from: :: KPL :: Lao News Agency

Location of the Laos - Myanmar bridge over the Mekong west of Xiengkok (Mueang Sing)

Laos Myanmar bridge.jpg
 

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Lao-Myanmar bridge works speed up for early finish

Construction of the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is moving forward ahead of schedule and is now around 75 percent complete, according to the project's May progress report. Despite the fluctuating water levels in the Mekong River over the past month good progress has still been made, with works hitting the three quarters completion mark recently. The main bridge pylons have been bored, sunk and poured with works to now focus on the bridge deck proper. Only the central pylon in the middle of the river remains to be completed but this should be finished by the end of this month before river levels start to rise with the coming rains. On the Lao side, they are soon to start pouring the concrete slab for the bridge decking, which will be replicated by the other contractors on the Myanmar side.

The Laos-Myanmar Bridge will be 691.6 metres in length and 10.9 metres wide. It will include both vehicle lanes and sidewalks, linking the Xiengkok river port in Luang Namtha province in Laos to Xienglap village in Myanmar. The Lao side of the bridge starts at Huaykoum village, 15 km north of Xiengkok village in Long district. The Myanmar side of the bridge is 500 metres south of Xienglap village in Thakhilek district, Shan state. The bridge is designed to carry semi-trailers weighing up to 75 tonnes and can withstand earthquakes of up to 7.0 on the Richter scale. The bridge will provide the first road link between the two neighbouring countries and aims to boost trade, investment and tourism between Laos and Myanmar, as well as the Asean region as a whole.

Source: VT June 6, 2014 Log In

See also: http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/laos-ride-reports/4417-burma-laos-bridge-over-mekong-more.html#post35241
 

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Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge connected

The ongoing construction of the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is now connected after spending 20 months for the construction. It expected to open for public use in March 2015. The supervisor of the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge Construction Project, Mr Xaysongkham Manotham said, “Construction of the bridge began in February 2013 and is approximately 93% complete. In December 2014, the bridge between Laos and Myanmar was connected. The construction work expected to be completed ahead of schedule and the two governments hope to open it in March 2015,” he continued.

The bridge links National Road No 17 in Laos to National Road No 4 in Myanmar. Upon completion bilateral trade and transport will be facilitated which will bring mutual benefits to the two countries, its citizens, as well as the region.

Source: :: KPL :: Lao News Agency

Capture.jpg

Note LR: Not sure if this will become an International Crossing once the bridge is ready
 

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Confusion but that is normal in Laos as KPL news indicated that the bridge will be opened in March this year but Vientiane Times reports today that the bridge will be opened in early May

Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge set to open in May

The Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge linking northern Laos with Myanmar across the Mekong River is set to open officially in early May - ahead of the original plan slated for August, a senior government official has said. Construction work on the US$26 million project, which began early in 2013, is set to complete by March, the Project Manager Mr Xaysongkham Manotham told the Vientiane Times yesterday.

Progress on the project and preparation for the official opening of the bridge were discussed at a ministerial meeting held on Friday at the project's site. The meeting agreed on the revised opening date and pressed on the need to accelerate all necessary works to ensure that the works are done before the official opening, according to Mr Xaysongkham. He added that the meeting touched upon the need for relevant sectors of both sides, including officials in charge of foreign affairs, immigration and customs, to work out all related procedures so that transport across the bridge between the two countries can begin once the bridge is opened to public services.

The bridge is built across the Mekong River, linking Thakhelek district in the Shan State of Myanmar and Luang Namtha province in Laos. Built with a two-lane motorway, the bridge will be capable of accepting vehicles with a maximum gross weight of 75 tons and it can withstand earthquakes of up to 7.0 on the Richter scale. The Laos-Myanmar bridge is 691.6 metres long and 10.9 metres wide. The bridge is a joint investment by the Lao and Myanmar governments.

Vientiane Times (Latest Update February 04, 2015)
 

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Thanks for the more detailed info, i posted more info here, i think May is very optimistic.

http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-...-road-development-road-construction-laos.html
Bob, you may be right as the original opening date was set for August this year but after high level authorities from both countries had a meeting last week with the bridge builders it was decided that the opening would be in May of this year. By the way your link to your post brings you to page 1 of a 6 page thread so better replace it with a direct link to your post at: http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/laos-information/106-road-development-road-construction-laos-6.html#post51128
 

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Laos-Myanmar bridge to open next month

The new bridge linking Laos and Myanmar across the Mekong River is ready for use but will not be open to traffic until the official opening ceremony next month. Mr Xaysongkham said the bridge was finished five months ahead of schedule after construction began in February 2013. It is 691.6 meters long and 10.9 meters wide. "The bridge is finished and we are now waiting for committees in Laos and Myanmar to arrange the official opening ceremony, which we expect to take place early next month," he said. The bridge will be a new symbol of cooperation, good relations and solidarity between the peoples of the two countries. It will link Laos' National Road No. 17E and Myanmar's National Road No. 4.

The project has been jointly funded by the Lao and Myanmar governments at a cost of US$26 million. The bridge has vehicle lanes and sidewalks and links the Xiengkok river port north of Huaykoum village in Long district with Xienglap village in Thakilek district, Shan state, Myanmar. The bridge is designed to carry semi-trailers weighing up to 75 tonnes and can withstand earthquakes of up to 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Adapted from Vientiane Times April 7, 2015

A picture of the bridge which will be opened for use on 9 May 2015



Source: :: KPL :: Lao News Agency
 
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Border issue delays Myanmar-Lao bridge trade

According to the Bangkok Post (Border-issue-delays-myanmar-lao-bridge-trade) the newly built Myanmar-Lao Friendship Bridge remains closed as authorities on both sides struggle to agree on the issue of border demarcation. The Presidents of Myanmar and Laos inaugurated the bridge in May last year, which connects Eastern Shan State's Tachileik district to Long district in the Lao province of Luang Namtha. But, following delays in surveying and agreeing on the border line, the bridge is still not open to commerce. On 29 September 2015, the Vientiane Times reported that, although the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge was officially opened, it had yet to become an official international border as the juristic acts between the two countries have not been completed.

I am not sure what this juristic act entails but it might have something to do with the agreement reached on 11 June 1994 between Laos and Myanmar related to their land boundary along the Mekong river. The "Convention" relates to the “fixation” of the international boundary between the two countries. (Source: Gay, B. and Phommachack, O. (eds.) (1999) La nouvelle frontière Lao- Myanmar (Les Accords de 1993-1995). Histoire des frontières de la péninsule indochinoise – 3, Travaux du Centre d’histoire et civilisations de la peninsule indochinoise publiés sous la direction de P. B. Lafont, Paris: L'Harmattan: 14-15.

So, the bridge crossing the Mekong River is now only open as a traditional border for people between the two countries to exchange goods for sale and visit each other along this border area.
 

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Border issue delays Myanmar-Lao bridge trade

According to the Bangkok Post (Border-issue-delays-myanmar-lao-bridge-trade) the newly built Myanmar-Lao Friendship Bridge remains closed as authorities on both sides struggle to agree on the issue of border demarcation. The Presidents of Myanmar and Laos inaugurated the bridge in May last year, which connects Eastern Shan State's Tachileik district to Long district in the Lao province of Luang Namtha. But, following delays in surveying and agreeing on the border line, the bridge is still not open to commerce. On 29 September 2015, the Vientiane Times reported that, although the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge was officially opened, it had yet to become an official international border as the juristic acts between the two countries have not been completed.

I am not sure what this juristic act entails but it might have something to do with the agreement reached on 11 June 1994 between Laos and Myanmar related to their land boundary along the Mekong river. The "Convention" relates to the “fixation” of the international boundary between the two countries. (Source: Gay, B. and Phommachack, O. (eds.) (1999) La nouvelle frontière Lao- Myanmar (Les Accords de 1993-1995). Histoire des frontières de la péninsule indochinoise – 3, Travaux du Centre d’histoire et civilisations de la peninsule indochinoise publiés sous la direction de P. B. Lafont, Paris: L'Harmattan: 14-15.

So, the bridge crossing the Mekong River is now only open as a traditional border for people between the two countries to exchange goods for sale and visit each other along this border area.
Thanks for this update. I recently made an enquiry about driving to Myanmar on a tour through a couple of local travel agencies. They all told me this bridge was closed, with no indication of when it might open. One additional sticking point apart from the border demarcation issues is that Myanmar does not currently permit foreign registered vehicles access to the country with the exception of special border "free zones" like Tachilek and Myawady. Therefore, even once the bridge does open, it won't be useful for overlanders because 1) Myanmar won't let us in and 2) the Kengtung (Kyaing Tong) to Taunggyi road is off-limits to foreigners unless a permit is applied for 2 or more weeks in advance.
 

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For what it is worth as the bridge is already opened and ready for use for more than a year (from KPL Newspaper of 9 August 2016 - http://kpl.gov.la/En/Detail.aspx?id=15680)


President Bounnhang of Laos visits Myanmar

(KPL) President Bounnhang Vorachit, accompanied by his spouse and a delegation of senior officials, visited the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in response to an invitation from his Myanmar counterpart Htin Kyaw on Aug 5...................................

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of an agreement on the management of the Lao Myanmar Friendship Bridge which will be opened for public use in the near future. The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and his Myanmar counterpart Aung San Suu Kyi.

The US$26 million bridge, which links Myanmar's Tachileik in eastern Shan State to Laos' Luang Namtha province, was inaugurated last year by the then-presidents of both countries. The bridge was opened in May 2015.
 

blackwolf

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For what it is worth as the bridge is already opened and ready for use for more than a year (from KPL Newspaper of 9 August 2016 - http://kpl.gov.la/En/Detail.aspx?id=15680)


President Bounnhang of Laos visits Myanmar

(KPL) President Bounnhang Vorachit, accompanied by his spouse and a delegation of senior officials, visited the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in response to an invitation from his Myanmar counterpart Htin Kyaw on Aug 5...................................

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of an agreement on the management of the Lao Myanmar Friendship Bridge which will be opened for public use in the near future. The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and his Myanmar counterpart Aung San Suu Kyi.

The US$26 million bridge, which links Myanmar's Tachileik in eastern Shan State to Laos' Luang Namtha province, was inaugurated last year by the then-presidents of both countries. The bridge was opened in May 2015.
The bridge is only open to local traders, not foreigners. I read an article I think it was in the Myanmar Times or somewhere that stated that Lao citizens could travel up to Keng Lap township in Shan State (not very far from the border), while Myanmar citizens could travel as far as Luang Nam Tha. Almost certainly, vehicles (except those involved in border trade) aren't allowed to cross the border.

So for us third country nationals, dream on. We aren't allowed across (with or without a vehicle) and won't be for a while to come.
 
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