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Main section of Laos-China railway bridge completed

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Photo taken on July 28, 2019 shows the closed Luang Prabang Mekong River Super Major Bridge in the north of the Luang Prabang Ancient Town, a world heritage, some 220 km north of the Lao capital Vientiane. Xinhua

VIENTIANE (Xinhua) – With the concrete beam of the last span over Mekong River in place, the main section of Luang Prabang cross-Mekong River railway bridge was completed on Sunday, seven months ahead of schedule.

The completion of the Luang Prabang Mekong River Super Major Bridge, one of the two cross-Mekong bridges along the China-Laos Railway, indicates that the railway project construction has made major progress in the 2019 civil engineering schedule.

The 1,458.9-meter bridge lies in the north of the former royal city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, nearly 220 kilometers north of the capital Vientiane. It has five main piers including 34 spans along the Mekong River.

According to the Laos-China Railway, which is in charge of the construction and the operation of the railway, the Luang Prabang cross-Mekong River bridge is a challenging task entailing more than 160 bridges of the railway, involving the most complicated building techniques.

With engineering quality borne in mind, the Chinese engineering teams have overcome the difficulties brought by the Mekong River with its turbulent current, rapidly rising water level in rainy seasons and non-overburden riverbed. The teams have also overcome the technical difficulties in building a trestle bridge for pier construction.

According to the China Railway No 8 Engineering Group, which is in charge of the construction of the two cross-Mekong River bridges of the railway, construction of the bridge will be completed by the end of 2019.

As the first overseas route connecting China’s railway system using Chinese technology and equipment, the China-Laos Railway is a major project in infrastructure interconnectivity between China and neighboring countries, and a major project in implementing the Belt and Road Initiative.

A groundbreaking ceremony of the railway was held in 2015, and the construction of the route officially started a year later, while the railway is expected to be operational in December 2021. The 414-km China-Laos railway links the Mohan-Boten border gate in northern Laos and Vientiane. Operating speed on the route is designed at 160 km/h.

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