Thailand and Laos officially opened a new bridge across the Mekong River Friday as part of a regional highway project.
The 1.4-kilometer crossing links Thailand's northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom with Khammouan in Laos. It provides the shortest route for Lao exporters to truck goods to Vietnam's central seaports. It is the third “friendship bridge” between the kingdom and its land-locked neighbor, one of Asia's poorest nations.
The bridge is expected to lead to the development of rural areas of Khammouan province, with facilities built to accommodate trade, investment and tourism.