The excavation work for Thailand’s longest tunnel, which will connect the country to Laos, has begun and it is expected to open for service by 2028 if construction finishes on time.
The 6.8 kilometers long tunnel is reportedly part of the Den Chai to Chiang Khong railway, and it will be extended to the outskirts of Chiang Rai province. The railway line connecting Den Chai, Chiang Rai, and Chiang Khong will be 323.10 kilometers long.
According to the development plan, the railway will connect Thailand’s existing railway network to neighboring countries such as Laos and Myanmar to promote tourism and low-cost transportation of goods from Thailand.
A recent report also suggested that the railway line will connect to the fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge.
The completed railway will consist of 26 stations, including four large stations, nine small stations, and 13 halts. In addition, four double tunnels will be built through the mountain for the railway line.
The main feature of this project is that the construction will see no level crossings because the entire line will be fenced in. Bridges and underpasses will be installed at 254 locations along the route.
Mr. Ekarat Sriarayanphong, the director of the SRT’s Public Relations Center in Thailand, said that if the construction completes in time, the railway should be ready to operate by 2028, reducing the travel time between Thailand and Laos by 1-1.5 hours.
He also added that the railway will not only promote tourism, and the economy, and generate income for residents in the area, but it will also help to reduce transportation costs sustainably.