Dec 4, 2014

Opened the friendship bridge over the Mekong River!

A bridge linking the Mekong River’s Khong island to mainland Champassak province in Laos was officially opened, earlier this week.
It should help to boost trade and tourism in the far southern corner of Laos, by making it easier to transfer from the large Mekong River island to the rest of the province, without needing to use ferries.
The Lao News Agency reported the 718-metre long bridge, which was largely funded by the Chinese government, will enable inhabitants of the 10 villages on Khong Island (Khong district) to connect with the rest of the province that borders the river bank.
Visitors to the island, which is a popular tourist spot, can transfer by bus rather than using small ferries.
Public Works and Transport Minister, Dr Bounchan Sinthavong, was quoted as saying that Chinese financial support was very important to develop the province’s economy.
“The bridge will make travel to and from the island much easier. It will significantly contribute to greater socio-economic development, trade, investment, and tourism in the southern region.”
Built at a cost of more than USD34.12 million, 95% of the financing was provided by a long-term, low interest loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank). The remaining 5%, amounting to USD1.7 million, was provided by the Lao government. The bridge, which is 11 metres wide, took 34 months to complete.
Champassak is a province in southwestern Laos, and shares borders with Thailand and Cambodia. Freshwater dolphins and the province’s many waterfalls are the main tourist attractions.
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