Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A boat heads towards Koh Dach. Plans are afoot to link the island with mainland Phnom Penh via a bridge. Sreng Meng Srun

Governor confirms infrastructure plans for Koh Dach

A boat trip to Koh Dach commune, often referred to as Silk Island, may one day not be necessary with the Phnom Penh Governor, Pa Socheatvong, announcing that plans were underway to connect the island to the Phnom Penh mainland via a bridge.

Earlier this month, Socheatvong said a company, which he could not name, was in the early stages of studying the construction of three bridges to link Phnom Penh to various inhabited areas across the upper reaches of the Mekong River. One bridge would connect to Koh Dach while the other two bridges would link the Svay Chrum and Areyksat villages respectively. When pressed, Socheatvong could not reveal details on the bridges construction timeframe.

Post Property first reported on the possibility of the bridge development project in March, however no official word had been given from the governor.

At that time, only two bridges were being proposed, with bridge number one set to start in the Kdey Ta Kdoy area, along National Road 1, heading towards Areyksat village while the second bridge would begin in the Chroy Changvar area and end in the Svay Chrom village in Kandal. The bridges, once built, could boost land prices as well as spur on additional development.

Hai Ravy, board director at Daily Realty Group, said chatter about a bridge connection to Koh Dach had existed for some time, but added that the development now looked certain to proceed following the announcement from the governor.

Commenting on the flow-on effects of new infrastructure development in the area, In Sitha, an independent real estate agent and former senior valuer at World Trust Estate said he did not foresee land prices on Koh Dach jumping significantly after the bridges are built.

“For instance, even after the Prek Tamak bridge was built, plots of land around the bridge didn’t increase much in terms of land price and there hasn’t been that much development in the surrounding area,” he said.

However Van Chanthorn, CEO of Town City Real Estate, is more optimistic when it comes to land prices reacting to new development, believing prices will increase.

“There are always benefits from infrastructure development,” he said.

“When the bridges are completed, this area would be further development with hotels and bungalows which would also see land prices rise.”

Path El, Koh Dach’s commune chief, said current prices for land plots in the area ranged from $40 to $80 a square metre

“There are many big land plots up for sale, but the inflated prices are just made up by the owners themselves,” he said, adding that “the people on this island are utterly content with the new bridge project but we have yet to be informed on its start date.”

Koh Dach is home to about 13,000 residents spread across five communes.