1st Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge: History of Friendship between Laos, Thailand and Australia

09/04/2024 15:35
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KPL (KPL) Thirty years ago, on the 23rd April 1994, the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong was opened to the public of the two countries, Laos and Thailand.

From the left, three former Prime Ministers,Chuan Leekpai (Thailand),Paul Keating (Australia) and Khamtai Siphandone (Laos) attended the opening ceremony of the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge on April 8, 1994

 

(KPL) Thirty years ago, on the 23rd April 1994, the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong was opened to the public of the two countries, Laos and Thailand.

Funded and built by the Australian Government as a gift for the peoples of the Lao PDR and the Kingdom of Thailand.

Its construction kicked off in 1991 and completed three years later.

The opening ceremony for the newly built construction was held in its middle on Apr 8, 1994, 14 days before it was put into public service.  

 “The first Friendship Bridge cemented a new, peaceful era in the relationship between the Lao PDR and Thailand. Its construction represented genuine collaboration among our three countries (Laos, Thailand and Australia),” former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Somsavat Lengsavad said in an interview to the media on Apr 6. “It was a historic landmark that leaders of Laos, Australia and Thailand participated in the opening of the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge.”

Former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Somsavat Lengsavad

Peoples in Laos and Thailand were hopeful that the bridge will bring benefits to the two countries.

Funding and engineering inputs were from Australian government as materials and most of the labour force were contributed by Laos and Thailand.

Over the past 30 years, the bridge has played an important role in promoting transport, trade, investment, tourism and people to people exchange between Laos and Thailand and in the region.

The bridge symbolizes the enduring bonds of friendship between the Lao PDR, Thailand and Australia.

The 1st Laos-Thai Friendship Bridge is 1,174 m long and 12.7 m wide. It has two traffic lanes and a railway track in the middle. The bridge spans the Mekong between Vientiane, the capital city of Laos and Nong Khai of northeastern Thailand.

Following the first friendship bridge, three more Mekong bridges have been built by Laos and Thailand. These include the second bridge spanning between Savannakhet and Mukdahan, the third one between Khammuan and Nakorn Phnom, and the fourth one between Bokeo and Chiang Rai.

Laos and Thailand are also constructing one more Mekong bridge which spans between Borikhamxay of Laos and Bueng Kan of Thailand.

KPL

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