The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help expand a highway in Thailand in a bid to spur economic growth along the borders of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

The newly approved $77.1m loan will be used to expand, from two to four lanes, 178km of national highways which link the country economically to Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The road expansion, from Phitsanulok to Lom Sak in Thailand’s northern region, and from Phanom Sarkham to Sa Kaeo in the central region, is also expected to cut traffic accidents by 40%, passenger and freight operating costs by 10% and travel times by 15%.

The $179.4m project is estimated to increase the country’s gross domestic product by 20% within three years of completion.