Photo by: Sovan Philong
Travellers cross the Mekong River by way of the Neak Leung ferry in April 2009. Officials say a new bridge will replace the ferry by 2015
Thursday, 20 January 2011 19:11 Cheang Sokha
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced today that construction of the long-awaited Neak Leung bridge will start next month.
The construction of the bridge is being funded by the Japanese government and is expected to cost US$131 million.
The two-kilometre bridge will span the Mekong River between Kandal and Prey Veng provinces along National Road 1, which connects Phnom Penh with the Vietnamese border.
“The Neak Leung bridge is the longest, biggest and most difficult to build,” Hun Sen said today, speaking at an inauguration ceremony for a new building at the Kampong Cham provincial hospital.
Japanese Ambassador Masafumi Kuroki will preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the bridge on February 12, Hun Sen added.
While China has provided billions of dollars worth of loans and investment for infrastructure projects in recent years, Japan remains the Kingdom’s largest foreign aid donor, drawing praise from Hun Sen today.
“Japan is still the leading country in providing grant aid, equalling roughly US$130 million per year,” Hun Sen said.
Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said in June that construction of the bridge would be completed by February 2015.
Tokyo also provided funding for the construction of the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge across the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh in 1993, as well as for the Kizuna Bridge in Kampong Cham province in 1999.
Earlier this month, the government announced plans to study a proposed 3,500-metre bridge – the Kingdom’s longest – and a 58-kilometre road to connect the Kampong Chhnang provincial capital to Kampong Thom province.
The proposed bridge would span the Tonle Sap river, with the project costing an estimated $180 million.