Second Mekong bridge in Champassak opened

The opening of a 718-metre bridge across the Mekong River, linking Khong Island to the mainland of Champassak Province was officially opened for public use on Nov 23 to boost trade, investment, tourism, and to drive growth in the southern region.

The new bridge, which was largely funded by the Chinese government, will enable the inhabitants of the 10 villages on Khong Island (Khong district) to better connect with the mainland. They were previously only able to make the river crossing by ferry, which was time-consuming and inefficient.

Visitors to the island, which is a popular tourist spot, also had to catch a ferry, while boats transported all vehicles and supplies.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong said that Chinese financial support has been significant for socio-economic development and the growth of trade and tourism in the south of Laos. The bridge will make travel to and from the island much easier, as well as the transport of goods, he added.

Built at a cost of more than US$34.12 million (more than 273.9 billion kip), 95 percent of the financing was provided by a long-term, low interest loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank). The remaining 5 percent, amounting to US$1.7 million, was provided by the Lao government.

Champassak considers the bridge to be a symbol of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Laos and China, said Champassak governor Dr Bounthong Divixai.