On 16 February 2013, at Xiengkok village, Long district, Luangnamtha province, a ground breaking ceremony was held to mark construction of the Lao-Myanmar Mekong River Friendship Bridge. The ceremony was honored by the attendance of Mr. Sommad Pholsena, Minister of MPWT, Mr. Cho Linh Minister of Construction in Myanmar, Mr. Phimmasone Leungkhamma Governor of Luangnamtha province, H.E the Ambassador and staff involved in the project from both sides.
On this occasion, Mr. Xaisongkham Manotham, project manager, on behalf of Department of Roads provided a report regarding the project as follows: The project responds to the needs of both the governments of Lao PDR and Myanmar by providing convenient border crossing facilities which will enhance better friendship and cooperation between the two countries. In the past, both country’s leaders shared the same vision to construct the Mekong Bridge from Xiengkok in Lao PDR, across to Kenglap in Myanmar. This location is not only an important link between Lao PDR and Myanmar but it will also improve linkages in the sub-region. The technical staff of both countries, especially MPWT of the Lao PDR and Ministry of Construction of Myanmar, conducted surveys of and around the construction area and organized several meetings to ensure the Bridge could be constructed according to the plan.
The Bridge is therefore an output of the cooperation between the Lao and Myanmar Governments. It was during the visit of H.E. Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, at the invitation of H.E. Choummaly Xaiyasone, President of Lao PDR, on the 22 March 2012 that both parties signed an agreement on the Friendship Mekong River Bridge Construction. Following this, the Department of Roads, Lao MPWT cooperated with Department of Public Works, Myanmar Ministry of Construction to carry out surveys and design the Bridge together in May 2012. At the present, the Bridge’s design is complete and ready for construction.
The Lao-Myanmar Friendship Bridge located at Houa Koum village, it is about 15km north from Xiangkok village ,and belongs to Long district, Luangnamtha province of the Lao PDR. On the Myanmar side, it is located about 500m to the south of Kenglap , Thachilek district, Lat San, Myanmar. This Bridge is about 698 km north from Vientiane Capital in Lao PDR, about 940 km from Nai Pi Taw Myanmar, and about 1020 km distance from Hanoi, and also about 1868 km from the borders of Myanmar-India-Bangladesh. The Lao-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is 691.6 meters in length, 10.9 meters wide, holds two lanes for vehicles of 8.5 meters each, side walks on both sides of 1.2 meter width each. The Bridge is composed of mixed beams, the steel beam is 360 meters length and 12 meters high at the middle and concrete beam is 331.6 meters at the bank side.This Bridge is designed for 10 wheel trucks with maximum gross weights of 75 tons, and resist earth quakes below 7 rectors intensity, and ships less than 500 tons can pass.
The Bridge will cost about 18 million US dollars and the Governments of Lao PDR and Myanmar will bear the cost. Construction will finish within 30 months starting from 16 February 2013 up until 15 August 2015. After the Lao-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is complete, it will mark the significance of cooperation and friendship between Lao and Myanmar. The Bridge will link to National Road No. 17 of Lao PDR to National Road No. 4 of Myanmar, and it is aimed to provide easy access, facilitate trade exchange and bring great benefits to both nations. It will also link the countries within sub-region especially Lao, Myanmar, Vietnam and China, and in the future it could also link to India and Bangladesh via National Road No.17, 13 and 2E of Lao PDR, and National Road No. 4 of Myanmar.