Asia Highway link slashes Dawna Range travel time

The Myanmar section of an international highway that will benefit trade with Thailand and eventually link Southeast Asia and India has opened in Kayin State, media reports said.

The 26-mile (45 kilometre) section of the Asia Highway over the Dawna Range between Kawkareik and the border town of Myawaddy was opened on August 30 at a ceremony attended by Vice President U Nyan Win, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and the chairman of the Karen National Union, General Saw Mutu Say Poe.

The highway will cut the travel time between Kawkareik and Thingan-Nyinaung, on the outskirts of Myawaddy, from three hours to about 45 minutes, Xinhua news agency reported.

The highway, built with Thai assistance for about US$32.5 million, forms part of the Asia Highway linking Moreh in India with the Thai border town of Mae Sot, opposite Myawaddy. The highway is also part of the 1,450-kilometre East-West Economic Corridor that will link Mawlamyine with the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang.

The inauguration of the highway section on August 30 coincided with a ceremony in Mae Sot marking the start of work on a second Thai-Myanmar friendship bridge.

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U Nyan Tun said at the ceremony that the friendship bridge on the East-West corridor will benefit Myanmar, Thailand and the four other members of the Greater Mekong Subregion, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China.

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