The official opening of the third Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge over the Mekong takes place on Friday, November 11th, 2011. It links Ban Veun Tai, about 13 km south of Thakhaek, the capital of Khammouane Province, with Ban Hom in Meuang District of Nakhon Phanom Province in Thailand.
The bridge is expected to boost trade between Khamouane and neighbouring Thailand massively. It is part of the East-West corridor which aims at linking Thailand and Vietnam by road. The Thai government has funded the bridge with more than 1.7 bln. THB.
In 2010 the Lao government gave its approval to a private company to develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near the bridge. The SEZ will be provided with basic infrastructure and covers an area of 4,850 ha of which of which according to media reports 3,620 ha will be set aside as a protected area.