Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge

Edit profile
Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge

The Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge (Thai: สะพานมิตรภาพ ไทย-ลาว แห่งที่ 2, Thai pronunciation: ; Lao: ຂົວມິດຕະພາບ ລາວ-ໄທ ແຫ່ງທີສອງ) over the Mekong connects Mukdahan Province in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos. The bridge is 1600 meters (1.0 mi) long and 12 meters (39 ft) wide, with two traffic lanes.

Traffic on the bridge drives on the right, as in Laos, while traffic in Thailand drives on the left; the change-over is on the Thai side.

History

Bridge construction began on March 21, 2004. Supports and spans were constructed on shore, then moved out onto pylons in the river by crane.

On 22 July 2005, at about 4.45pm a crane being used to airlift concrete slabs for installation suddenly snapped. It dropped one span into the river, instantly killing Hiroshi Tanaka, 49, the Japanese chief engineer; as well as two other Japanese engineers identified as Oanoki and Yanase; three Thai named Preeda Muangkhot, Sinual Noyphan and Anon Samphaokaew; and six Lao men identified as Keo-oudon Phonthita, Kaew Vanvisay, Veelavong, Kanya and Viengsamay. Keo-oudon, who was seriously injured, died in hospital. Strong river currents swept away two Japanese engineers, Nidoru Tanadu, 34, and Hanaka, 40; a Filipino engineer identified as Frederick "Tom" Napasa, 38; three Thai identified as Thong-on Thongmaha, 29, Cherdsak Inthasen, 30 and Set Chairap, 29; and two other workers identified only as Lao and Thai.

The total cost was about 2.5 billion baht (US$70 million), funded largely by a Japanese loan.An official opening ceremony was held on December 19, 2006, although the bridge only opened to the general public on January 9, 2007.