THE GOVERNMENT will build more roads and rail lines linking neighbouring countries with Thailand in the Mekong sub-region in order to ease traffic congestions at major border points, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit.
Delivering his keynote speech at the seminar on “ The GMS 25th Anniversary : Achievement, Lessons Learned, and the Way Forward” hosted by Asian Development Bank, Arkhom said yesterday that as Thailand has been doing more trade and investments with countries along the Mekong River, it has led to traffic congestions at major border points. Over the past 25 years, the six countries (Thailand, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam) participating in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) development project have been successful in developing their economies and close co-operations in the GMS sub-reigon, said Arkhom.
He said the government will build more roads and bridges at Mae Sot district in Tak province in the north to ease the congestion of cargo trucks waiting in a long queue on the bridge crossing into Myanmar. New bridges will be built in order to separate the transport of cargoes and people, he said.
Similar problems have also occurred at Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province in the eastern region bordering Cambodia and at Mukdahan province in the northeast connecting Laos .
New bridges and rail tracks will be built to link Thailand with Cambodia, he said.
The railway connection with Cambodia currently under construction is expected to open for service later this year, It will connect Sa Kaeo with Sisophon in Cambodia before extending to Poipet later, he said.
The Thai government has planned to invest Bt 2 trillion in transport infrastructures in next five years, he said.
The government will expand the deep seaports at Laem Chabang in order to accommodate more goods and cargos from Laos and Cambodia as well as Southern China, he said.
The cross border pact is expected to be agreed on during the meeting in Hanoi today (Thursday) before being forwarded to the GMS leader summit at the end of this month, he said.
The agreement will facilitate cross border trade as cargo trucks could cross borders without checking by officials .
Airports linkage is also in the pipeline to connect cities in the region, he said.
Apart from the high-speed rail from Bangkok to Nong Khai province, the government is also planning a new rail route from Khon Kaen to Mukdahan and Nakhon Phanom provinces , he said.
Another rail line will soon start from Denchai in Lampang province to Chiang Khong district in northern Chiang Rai province.