Signs Friendship Bridge will re-open

Rumors are circulating that the trade crossing between Mae Sot on the Thai side and Myawaddy on the Burma side is about to officially open after 13 months of closure. Myawaddy residents are convinced the Friendship Bridge linking the two countries will reopen in a matter of days.

A Myawaddy resident told Karen News that there has been discussion between Thai and Burma officials media hints the Bridge will be opening.

“The authorities here are saying the bridge will open in a few days. They are cleaning up the bridge on the Burma side, but we haven’t seen anything been done on the Thai side yet. Police are also guarding the gate at the bridge.”

Myawaddy residents say rumors have been circulating for months.

“Yes, I’ve heard it from other town resident that the bridge will open, but nobody is sure when will it be. This week senior authorities are expected to come to Myawaddy. Maybe they will open it when they’re here.”

A Myawaddy trader said it is good news hearing the bridge will be opening, as it has been a hard on traders to do business through the unofficial crossings.

Before the bridge closure Asia Highway Number 1 saw a constant stream of cargo laden lorries and pick-up trucks make their way to Burma with drums of petrol, cooking oil, second hand cars, gas bottles, textiles, shoes, everyday consumer goods, medicines, motorbikes, televisions, electronic goods, computers and diesel.

Since July 18, 2010, Burma’s military regime has closed the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border in retaliation, for what it claims was the unofficial construction of a concrete embankment on the Thai side.

In 2010, before the [border] closure the Tak Chamber of Commerce estimated exports through the Myawaddy Mae Sot crossing would earn Thailand more than 30 billion baht – traders are losing as much as 100 million baht a day.

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