CDIA Begins Preparatory Study for the Cross-border Cable Car Project

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CDIA officially kicked off its project preparation study (PPS) for the Cross-border Cable Car Project on 9 May 2023 in Nong-Khai Province, Thailand. The PPS will examine the potential of a cable car system to facilitate the mobility of residents and tourists between Vientiane in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Nong Khai in Thailand.  

“We hope this initiative can enhance not only the movements in the border but more importantly strengthen the relationship of the two countries,” said Mr. Soulivanh Phommahaxai, Director General of Lao PDR’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport during the kickoff meeting.  

While thanking counterpart representatives from Nong Khai Province for hosting the kickoff meeting, the Director General also highlighted the development aspirations that both countries share on the project, particularly in creating job opportunities, promoting dynamism, and growth in tourism and the local economy.  

At present, the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge physically connects the cities of Vientiane and Nong Khai. However, as freight and passenger volumes have increased over the years, the bridge is facing capacity concerns. At the same time, border crossing has become cumbersome for passengers having to use multiple transport modes before they can successfully cross the border.  

Committed to provide a more efficient public transport system that is convenient, safe, and environmentally friendly, the governments of Lao PDR and Thailand are considering setting up a cable car system that will facilitate the movement of tourists and commuters traversing both countries.  

CDIA will support them by preparing a feasibility study and preliminary design for a cable car system crossing the Mekong River. In line with this, CDIA will assess the potential demand for the service and identify various financing options, including a public-private partnership (PPP) modality.  

It will also develop an integrated capacity development roadmap and undertake capacity development activities to identify the appropriate PPP transaction advisory services that both governments will require to take the project forward to implementation.  

At the kickoff meeting, CDIA introduced its consulting team who will work closely with local partners to accomplish the deliverables of the PPS. The meeting also provided the venue to discuss the project components, timelines, and deliverables; and elicit the commitment of partners on the project design, timeline, coordination mechanisms, and PPS requirements.   

While expressing her appreciation to the leadership of the two provinces for their support, Lara Arjan, Asian Development Bank Project Officer in Charge of CDIA, highlighted the importance of working closely together to produce high quality and timely outputs. 

“With the cooperation of everybody, we can complete the study on time and generate reliable results which can help us establish the viability of a cross-border cable car system,” she said.  

When found viable and subsequently implemented, the cable car system will provide a convenient transport and mobility experience. It is also expected to provide climate co-benefits in terms of better air quality and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the service will be linked to other transport modes to enable a more seamless and sustainable public transportation in the cross-border area. 



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