Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday announced plans for a bridge across the Tonle Sap lake to connect Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom provinces, a project that will bring about sizeable economic benefits.
Hun Sen said at the opening of the three-day river festival in Kampong Chhnang province last week that the project will see a 57km road built from Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Leng district to Kampong Thom’s Stung Sen town, which will include a 3.9km bridge across the Tonle Sap lake.
“We hope that when the road and the bridge are built, people will greatly benefit from the project, which will save time and transport costs, yielding greater profits,” the prime minister said, adding that there are an additional two bridges planned for Kampong Thom province and an environmental impact assessment had been completed.
The prime minister did not disclose the date the project would break ground or the cost.
Delays and uncertainty
However, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol told local news that the project would cost more than $200 million, with the money a concession loan from China.
A delay to the project was announced in 2014, Chanthol added.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce director-general Nguon Meng Tech said he welcomed the prime minister’s announcement.
“I am so happy to hear about the project. It will not only benefit businessmen and investors but also people in the region. The road and bridge will help reduce transport costs and save a lot time in travel,” he said.
While construction details for the project have not been announced, Meng Tech said he was confident the project would transpire.
“I believe this project will happen. Even before the prime minister made the announcement, construction costs had been studied and evaluated,” he said.
Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association president Sin Chanthy said that though infrastructure is vital in improving logistics, such a large project would take time to be realised.
“When will it happen? Just wait and see! I believe it will happen just as the prime minister has said,” he said.
However, Emerging Markets Consulting senior consultant Ngeth Chou expressed his doubts regarding the prime minister’s announcement.
“It is hard to say whether it will happen or not,” he said.