CHIANG RAI -Thailand is to spend 7 million baht to perform major maintenance on the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, expected to be finished within half a year.
The Mae Sai Chief District Officer said that the Mae Sai – Tha Chi Lek Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge was constructed 40 years ago, and serves 1.3-1.5 million people traveling between the two countries every year.
Now, cracks have been found on the bridge’s deck as the bridge has stood through earthquakes and major floods, especially the last one where the water brought sand and mud that accumulated under the structure, as well as logs that hit the bridge’s supports. It is believed that the sand that accumulated under the bridge is now higher than 1.5 meters.
Therefore, the Mae Sai district has considered the bridge renovation both internally and with Myanmar, as this is an international matter that will affect the trade in border areas and tourism.
“The damage to the bridge’s deck and supports must be fixed immediately” said Mae Sai Chief District Officer.
Mr. Surasak Daolam, the deputy director of the 1st Chiang Rai Highway District said that the renovation plan has been designed and technically approved by the Highway Department. The plan will be a renovation rather than a reconstruction within the 7 million baht budget.
The renovation will take 4-6 months. Myanmar is also keen to participate with Thailand in various areas such as the civil engineering and construction work, said the deputy director of the 1st Chiang Rai Highway District.