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Construction gets underway for a property development in Svay Chrum. FACEBOOK

Government urged to act upon Phnom Penh–Svay Chrum bridge

The district of Svay Chrum, where the government has – since 2013 – been planning to build a bridge linking the Mekong river from west to east, is currently in the spotlight because of its advantageous geographical standpoint and slated future infrastructure development.

Noun Rithy, CEO and president of the Khmer Foundation Appraisal, said via phone earlier this week that the area’s potential is gearing up for a well-heeled future due to its proximity to Phnom Penh, in addition to being sandwiched between important rivers.

The Mekong river flanks Svay Chrum’s western side, while in the east rests the Mekong’s edge – where it leads to connecting lakes, farms and, ultimately, families and residents in the area. The plan to build a bridge connecting to the area, according to Rithy, will play a significantly positive role in the development of the area in the future.

Talking land prices, he said: “The price for land along the main road, facing the [Mekong] river is between $250 to $350 per square metre, and land in the village, including lake land or farm land is from $5 to $150 per square metre.”

The exact location of Svay Chrum, in Kandal province, is a mere seven kilometres from the Independence Monument, and a nearer five kilometers from Wat Phnom, making it a district that makes up the valve connecting to the heart of the capital city.

Focus Property CEO Po Eavkong said land prices in the area seemed to remain stable this year, with less sales activity after the initial spike in 2013 due to rumours of the bridge to be built.

In typical style, there were no further developments from the authorities, hence land prices remained dormant after a short momentum run.

However, if plans to build the bridge connecting to the area do materialise, Eavkong said the land price will definitely increase because of the area’s opportune environment.

“The atmosphere and geography of the area is excellent, but what’s lacking is the infrastructure. It’s under-developed.” He added, “Right now, local and foreign investors are in the waiting period.”

Pen Vicheano, secretary of state of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, declined to comment on the government’s infrastructure plan and referred Post Property to Vasim Soriya, the ministry’s spokesman, but his mobile phone was switched off.

City Hall spokesman Cheang Buntha said the news about the bridge’s construction still remains a rumour, as there has not been any official information on the project.

Svay Chrum’s commune chief, Hun Koy, said there is currently one borey under construction in his area. However, due to climbing land prices and people trying to sell off their land at skyrocketing prices, there have not been many purchasers.

Residents in the area are still being left in the lurch and have been questioning Koy about the bridge project, but Koy has maintained he is not privy to the government’s plans.

He said, “If there is a bridge crossing the Mekong River to this area, Svay Chrum commune, which has three villages and 5,135 people, we will be very happy, and the area will develop faster.”

District chief, Kong Sophorn of Lavea Em in Kandal province, said he has heard about many development projects in the area, but none have emerged yet because of the lack of a bridge linking to the area.

With the existence of a bridge, Sophorn said, “Ksach Kandal district will develop rapidly and people’s livelihoods will further improve.”

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