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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plans afoot for new bridges in Siem Reap to ease traffic congestion

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Minister for Public Works and Transport, Sun Chanthol (c), kicks off construction of the new Siem Reap bridges at a recent ceremony. FACEBOOK

Plans afoot for new bridges in Siem Reap to ease traffic congestion

Authorities are working to improve the traffic jam problems that plague Siem Reap, with work recently starting on three new bridges that are earmarked for completion in 2017.

Sou Phirin, the governor of Siem Reap province, said, “According to the plan, the construction of the three bridges will be finished before the upcoming Khmer New Year in April 2017.”

He noted that Siem Reap has about ten important stone bridges, ten iron-wood bridges and about four or five small bridges made entirely out of wood.

However, Phirin said because of the population growth and rising tourism, traffic is getting increasingly worse, prompting development of the separate bridges.

“The three bridges are: Number one – Royal Residence Stone Bridge, with a width of 46 metres at the length of 8.2 metres. Number two – Wat Po Langka Bridge with a width of 33 metres and a length of nine metres; and finally number three – Wat In Kaosa Bridge with a width of 33 metres at the length of nine metres,” Phirin said.

“The construction of the three bridges will require a government budget of an estimated 3,491 million riel ($822,750).”

Headway is already being made, with construction officially kicking off earlier this month following a special ceremony which was attended by Minister for Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol, and other government officiaries.

According to the plan, one new bridge will be built adjacent to the royal residence, providing a pathway to cross over the Siem Reap tributary along National Road 6.

Khiev Sot, district chief of Slor Kram, has a base located on the eastern shore of the Siem Reap tributary where the three bridges are being constructed.

He expressed joy upon hearing about the plans because he believes the people in Slor Kram would greatly benefit from the project.

“Even though the district in Siem Reap currently has eight bridges that are used to cross the tributary, and the location where the three new bridges will be built already has existing old bridges, what’s most important to the project is expanding the road along the eastern river bank to the length of eleven metres, and the road along the western river bank to the length of seven metres,” Sot told Post Property.

When asked if the construction of the three bridges could affect nearby houses of local residents, the district chief denied that the construction itself would be problematic to local residents.

However, he noted the expansion of the road will possibly affect some private properties.

While Sot admitted that the construction would cause damage to huge ancient trees, there are also many benefits of the new developments.

“We hope that after the project is completed, many of the city’s foundations will receive immense benefits from services related to tourism, like attracting tourists from the western shore to the eastern shore which will surely profit the guest houses, hotels, and restaurants, and would also gather them more customers,” he said.

“Another thing we’re hoping for is for the value of the land property on the eastern side of the river bank to increase [following construction]. The highest value of land property is currently only $500 per square metre, while the average value of the land on the west side ranges from $500 to $700 per square metres.”

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