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April 1 debut set for new bridge

A man looks at the Neak Loeung bridge
A man looks at the Neak Loeung bridge, spanning the Mekong River in Kandal province last year. Hong Menea

April 1 debut set for new bridge

The Neak Leung bridge, which spans the Mekong River on the border between Kandal and Prey Veng provinces, will officially open to traffic on April 1, ahead of the busy Khmer New Year holiday, officials confirmed yesterday.

Kem Kunawadh, general director of state-run network TVK, announced in rather grandiose terms that Prime Minister Hun Sen will preside over the opening of what will be the country’s longest bridge, officially christened the Tsubasa Bridge.

“Neak Leung bridge, which is holy aid from the government and people of Japan given to Cambodians in the Techo [Hun Sen] era, will be officially launched for the public on April 1, 2015, before Khmer New Year,” Kunawadh said.

Kem Borey, general director of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, confirmed the date, but declined to any give further details.

The bridge, spanning more than 2,200 metres, will theoretically allow travellers on National Road 1 to cross the Mekong in five minutes. Previously, travellers on the road between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City were forced to wait – sometimes for hours at a stretch during busy holidays – to cross via ferry.

The Japanese government invested 9 billion yen in the suspension bridge – about $75 million at today’s exchange rate, but closer to $95 million at the time the gift was announced.

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