(philstar.com) Updated February 13, 2011
PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) - The construction of Neak Loeung Bridge, a part of ASEAN's highway, will play a vital role in boosting the development of Cambodian and regional economy, said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday during a ground breaking ceremony for the bridge construction.
The Neak Loeung Bridge across the Mekong River along the National Road No. 1 will link the western part of Kandal province and the eastern part of Prey Veng province to Vietnam.
The bridge will be the biggest and longest one in Cambodia. It will be 13.5 meters wide and 2,200 meters long, and as high as 37 meters from the water surface, according to the master-plan.
The Neak Loeung Bridge, being constructed by contractor Sumitomo Mitsu Construction of Japan, will be completed by 2015. The cost was estimated at $131 million under the grant aid from Japan.
"The bridge will be hugely contributed to the development of Cambodian and regional economies because it will link the ASEAN highway and Great Mekong Sub-region highway," the premier said.
The construction of the bridge will also respond timely to the implementation of the bilateral transport agreement between Cambodia and Vietnam, he added.
In a message from Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto to congratulate the ground breaking ceremony for the bridge, he said that the bridge construction demonstrated closer confidence and cooperation between Cambodia and Japan.
"I firmly hope that this bridge will contribute to the development and progress in Cambodia and Mekong region," Kan Naoto wrote in the message and was read at the ceremony by Yutaka Banno, state secretary Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the figure from the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Japanese grant to Cambodia is about $130 million a year for rehabilitating and developing physical infrastructures such as roads and bridges, and human resources.
Since 1994 to the end of 2010, Japanese's grants to Cambodia mounted to $1.9 billion.
The ASEAN countries consist of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.