Agency predicts completion of railway bridge by 2029

Agency predicts completion of railway bridge by 2029

The Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (Neda) expects the new bridge facilitating the Thailand-China high-speed train project's crossing between Thailand and Laos to be completed by 2029.

According to Kirati Veruwan, vice-president of Neda, the bridge will be a parallel structure to the first Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge which connects Nong Khai province with Vientiane in Laos. The high-speed railway that will cross the Mekong River will consist of two tracks.

Neda will provide financial assistance to the Lao government for the portion under the responsibility of Laos, while the Thai government, through the Railways Department under the Transport Ministry, will be responsible for the construction of the bridge on the Thai side. The design of the Thai part of the bridge will commence next year, and the cost of the construction will be determined at a later date.

The first phase of the Thai-Sino high-speed railway project in Thailand links Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima, covering a distance of roughly 250 kilometres with a total of six stations: Bang Sue Central Station, Don Mueang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima.

The first phase is scheduled for completion in 2026, while the second phase, which will run from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, is expected to be completed by 2029.

According to Mr Kirati, the 6th Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River, connecting Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand to Salavan in Laos, valued at 2 billion baht, is another urgent development project following recent discussions and agreements by the prime ministers of both countries to push for this project's development.

Neda will provide financial assistance to the Lao government for the bridge construction on the Lao side.

Meanwhile, Neda received approval from the cabinet to provide financial assistance to seven countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Sri Lanka. In the case of Timor-Leste, there are expectations of an imminent project for the construction of a medical centre for mothers and children.

Each year, Neda provides around 2 billion baht in financial assistance to neighbouring countries.

Half of the funding comes from government support, and the other half from Neda's revolving fund, which includes funds generated by repayments made by countries receiving assistance.

Additionally, Neda has issued bonds to raise funds in the money market. In the coming year, Nena plans to issue a social bond valued at 1 billion baht to invest in projects that enhance the well-being of people in neighbouring countries.

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