After about two years of renovation work, the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge has finally reopened to connect Phnom Penh to other provinces and ease traffic conditions.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese Ambassador Hidehisa Horinouchi presided over the inauguration ceremony yesterday.
On Facebook, Mr Hun Sen said the bridge is very important because it connects Phnom Penh to other provinces. He also thanked Japan for granting aid money to support the renovation of the bridge.“Today we can use the bridge for 50 more years. It is an achievement for City Hall for facilitating access, travel and transportation of goods to our people,” Mr Hun Sen said. “This is a gift to the Cambodian people for the upcoming Khmer New Year.”
“The quality of the renovation of this bridge is better because of Japanese and Cambodian engineering. The bridge is a very important bridge spanning the Tonle Sap river. It was built and funded with Japanese aid,” he added, noting that that citizens should travel safely and respect traffic laws.
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the latest renovation work began in September 2017 and repairs were needed due to damages. It said the bridge was originally scheduled to reopen in June.
“The bridge will facilitate travel, reduce traffic congestion and enhance economic activities, such as transporting [goods] between Phnom Penh and the provinces,” it said.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the bridge will reduce traffic jams in and around the Phnom Penh.“Reopening the bridge will ease traffic jams and facilitate people crossing the river,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said.
Last month, Chhim Phalla, director of the Public Works and Transport Ministry’s road department, said renovation included the construction of new entry points and repairs to centre portion which crosses the river, and shoring up of the entry and exit embankments.
“We had a clear plan and the Japanese technology used ensured that construction work would not harm the environment or affect the river,” Mr Phalla said. “We tried to minimise impact on the environment as much as possible.”The Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge rehabilitation project was carried out through a grant aid of approximately $30 million from the Japanese government.
The bridge, also known as Chroy Chanva Bridge I, was constructed in 1963 through technical assistance from Japan but it was almost destroyed by the civil war in the 1970s.
It was reconstructed via a grant assistance from Japan in 1992 and reopened in 1996 to connect Phnom Penh to other provinces in the Kingdom.