Laos and Thailand have signed an agreement to extend road and rail connections between the two countries worth more than THB 3 billion (USD 98.2 million).
Under the agreement, the two countries plan to improve the R11 road linking the Phudu border checkpoint in Uttaradit province in Northern Thailand with the Lao capital, Vientiane. The two-lane road will be paved with asphalt, and will cost about THB 1.8 billion (USD 59 million), The Bangkok Post reported on July 1.
Laos and Thailand also plan to extend the current train route from Nong Khai, Thailand across the border and farther into Vientiane Capital. The route currently concludes at Thanaleng, just one stop from the border, while a 7.5km extension would cost THB 1.6 billion (USD 52.4 million).
The new deal came after the two countries opened a new road connecting the Thai border at Nan Province with Luang Prabang Province in Laos last week.
The new road extends from Hongsa District to Luang Prabang, and then reaches the border crossing with Nan Province in Thailand.
It used to take about nine hours to travel between the two provinces, but the construction of the new road means the trip will now take between four and five hours.
The new road and subsequent drop in travel time are expected to draw more visitors from Thailand to Laos, including Thai nationals and overseas tourists.