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Pakse Bridge (Laos)

Laos is a landlocked nation surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Myanmar. Nearly all of western Laos is divided by the Mekong River. While transportation and shipping in Laos depend heavily on land routes, ferries were required to cross the Mekong at Pakse. There were few ferry services, however, and they operated only during daylight hours. This impediment to the flow of goods and services led to the construction of the Pakse Bridge.

This is the third full-scale bridge across the Mekong River. Known locally as the “Lao-Nippon Bridge”, commemorative postage stamps were issued upon its completion, and the bridge appears on a bill of the national currency. The bridge is expected to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Mekong River area.

Pakse Bridge
Year completed: 2000
Structure: Extradosed bridge
Length: 1,380 m
Effective width: 11.0 m

Staff Comments

After a long absence, I returned to the Pakse Bridge for a voluntary bridge inspection five years after its completion. Entering the town after crossing the Pakse Bridge from Thailand, I was greeted by a surprising sight, a giant market near the foot of the bridge. A number of large tour buses, apparently from Thailand, had stopped in the town of Pakse. This stood in contrast to the times before the bridge, when the only way to cross the Mekong was by small ferries, which therefore restricted the number of vehicles and cargo that could cross the river. These sights represented a glimpse of the actual contributions made by the bridge to development in this area. I found myself moved in a different way than when the bridge was featured on commemorative postage stamps and Laotian currency.

People from 10 or more nations, not only from Southeast Asia but Europe and North America as well, took part in building this bridge. The people of Laos are easy going, kind to others, and very friendly, helping to establish a warm and inviting atmosphere for those of us from overseas. Despite differences in skin color and religious beliefs, we worked well together. I believe the completion of this project owed much to the way the atmosphere in Laos enabled all of us to enjoy our work.

As the completion of this bridge changes and enriches the lives of the people of Laos year by year, I hope this characteristic of the Laotian people will remain unchanged.

Erecting a segment of the approach span

Erecting a segment of the main span

10,000-kip note

Long-line segment casting

Location of the Pakse Bridge

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