Chinese firm wins Thai road link upgrade tender

A MULTIMILLION dollar road upgrade in Kayin State was the first project to be awarded to a Chinese company since the change of government in Myanmar, the online edition of the China Daily reported on July 8.

The state-run newspaper quoted China Road and Bridge Co Ltd chairman Mr Wen Gang as saying the company had tendered successfully to upgrade a 65-kilometre section of highway between Eindu and Kawkareik, on the main road link between Myanmar and Thailand.

The road forms part of the Asian highway network, as well as the 1,450km East-West Economic Corridor linking Mawlamyine and the Vietnamese port of Da Nang that is receiving financial support from the Asian Development Bank.

China Daily quoted a construction engineer as estimating the cost of building 65km of four-lane road in Myanmar at between US$600 million and $700 million.

As well as being the first tender awarded to a Chinese company since the National League for Democracy took power at the end of March it was also the first project awarded to CRBC for an ADB-funded project in Myanmar for many years, China Daily said.

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It quoted Wen as saying that as well as improving connectivity between Myanmar and Thailand, the road would contribute towards economic development in eastern Myanmar.

The ADB said last November it would provide a loan of $100 million to upgrade 65km of road in Myanmar regarded as the “missing link” of the East-West Economic Corridor, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

The East-West corridor is one of a series of economic cooperation projects involving the Greater Mekong Subregion, that comprises Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China’s Yunnan Province. The ADB was a driving force behind the creation of the GMS in 1992.

A 26km section of the road upgraded with assistance from Thailand was opened last August at a ceremony in the border town of Myawaddy attended by officials from the Myanmar and Thai governments and the Karen National Union.

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