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Nation’s first sea bridge opens

Nation’s first sea bridge opens

People walk across the US$31 million bridge connecting Preah Sihanouk to Koh Puos as part of a ceremony to mark its opening.

CAMBODIA’S first sea-spann-ing bridge was inaugurated by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a ceremony at Sihanoukville yesterday.

The 900-metre structure, referred to as Techo Morakat Bridge, links Sihanoukville to the island of Koh Puos.

The Russian company Koh Puos (Cambodia) Investment Group  is developing Koh Puos  into a luxury tourist resort called Morakot Island.

Construction of the US$31 million bridge, undertaken by  China’s state-owned Sino-hydro Construction Corporat-ion, has taken three years.

KPIG cited the economic downturn as the cause of various setbacks in the project.

With the exception of  unforeseen delays in the bridge’s development, the “exclusive” project was on schedule, KPIG board chairman Alexey Chepa said yesterday.

Phase one of construction,  including  the island’s residential homes, was due to begin this year, Chepa said.

Work on the residential precinct,  comprising 36 seafront villas and low-rise apartment buildings set on 100,000 square metres, would begin next month, he said.

The island’s utilities and infrastructure are set for completion next year.

“I hope that Morakot Island will boost and change [the image of] Sihanoukville, providing a high standard of living within the Asian region, which will attract more investors and tourists,” Chepa said.

KPIG director of sales and marketing Marina Khrisanova said last week prices for the vill-as, which range in size from 450 square metres to 570 square metres, would range from $1 million.

The cost would depend on factors such as plot size and  interior decor, she said.

“A number of the villas have been reserved by high-net-worth clients … from Cambodia and also foreign middle and high class.”    

Hun Sen praised KPIG during his speech at the bridge inaug-uration, saying he appreciated the company’s efforts, despite the unfavourable business climate in 2008 and 2009.

“The development of the island reflects participation from the private sector to boost social and economic development,” he said.

“It also mirrors the confidence of foreign investors in Cambodian security and political stability.”

Hun Sen said Preah Sihan-ouk province was now considered to be the Kingdom’s third economic hub after the capital, Phnom Penh, and the historic tourist destinations of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.

“From 2015 to 2020, Cambodia will develop a fourth hub  in the country’s northeast.

“It will have potential for eco-tourism, agro-industry and the exploitation of mineral resources.”

This fourth economic centre would incorporate the provinces of Kratie, Steung Treng, Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri,  the premier said.


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