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The site of a collapsed bridge in Mondulkiri last month. Adhoc
The site of a collapsed bridge in Mondulkiri last month. Adhoc

Driver gets off light for collapsed Mondulkiri bridge

A man whose overloaded truck snapped a steel bridge in Mondulkiri in December will only have to pay a quarter of the original damage bill, provincial authorities have decided.

Thai Phan, whose Hyundai truck was laden with about 20 tonnes of bricks and cement when it crossed O’plai bridge in Pech Chreada district three weeks ago, was initially asked to come up with more than $40,000 to repair the structure, which split in two and plunged into the river below.

After mediation with local authorities, who took into account Phan’s finances, that figure was reduced to 40 million riel (about $10,000) that could be paid when the cash was available, said Mondulkiri Provincial Hall spokesman Hak Sophan.

“Based on our meeting, [the truck owner] can pay partial compensation . . . police will also warn him,” Sophan said.

Sophan said the bridge was beyond repair and would need replacing, though there was a detour available nearby.

Short of cash for the project, provincial authorities have appealed to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation for funds, though Sophan said they had yet to respond.

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