A Thai construction company began their works on a second Maesot-Myawaddy Friendship Bridge project on the Thai side of the border in early June.
Local residents on the Thai side of the River Moei that separates Burma from Thailand said large earth moving machinery began leveling the ground, surveyors measured land while concrete workers started on the bridge supports.
A contractor said that the new construction would be a suspension bridge that crossed over the River Moei and would connect Yae Pu, Section (5)of Myawaddy, Karen State to Ban Wang Takhian, Section (7) of Mae Sot district in Thailand.
A contractor working on the bridge told Karen News that, “the project has already started on Thai side. The foundation will be laid in the beginning of July. It is planned to invite the Myanmar president [U Thein Sein] to the opening. This bridge will provide opportunity for Thailand and Myanmar to transport goods from Asia to Western countries.”
The contractor said that Thailand’s Prime Minister would attend the foundation lying ceremony that will happen next month and negotiations are in process to have U Thein Sein to attend.
Thailand is responsible for the construction and will also bear the cost of building the new suspension bridge. The new bridge will have 12 supporting towers on both side of the river. The location of the new bridge is 5km north of the current Friendship Bridge.
A businessman, Nai Suchai told Karen News that, “When this new bridge is completed, it will improve trade between Thailand and Myanmar. At present goods are being transported in small trucks so there are now delays.”
The current Mae Sot-Myawaddy friendship was built by Thailand at a cost of 79.2 millions baht and opened on October 15th 1997. Since July 25th, 2006 big trucks using the bridge is not allowed due to concerns about the safety of the bridge.
The Mae Sot to Myawaddy is the main border crossing trade route between Thailand and Burma and according to Thailand’s Chamber of Commerce, the monthly trade between the two countries – through the Mae Sot to Myawaddy crossing – is worth over 3 billion baht.