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Chroy Changwar bridge opens

Chroy Changwar bridge opens

C

o-premiers HRH Prince Norodom Ranariddh and HE Samdech Hun Sen are due to have

opened the Chroy Chanwar Bridge today at 8 am, formally repairing the capital's

famous "broken bridge."

The repairs have been paid by Japanese aid.

Embassy first secretary Toru Imamura said: "Once Route 6A is repaired, the

bridge will significantly alter the economic relationship between Phnom Penh and

the northern provinces."

Imamura said that "the bridge is symbolic of

the peace of Cambodia." First built in 1963, the bridge was constructed as a

quasi-compensation project by Japan. A span of the bridge was destroyed by the

Khmer Rouge during the Lon Nol regime.

Currently road traffic to Kampong

Thom and Siem Riep must cross the Tonle Sap river at Prek Kdam about 15 km north

of Phnom Penh, where the southern end of Route 6 lies.

When repairs to

National Route 6A are completed motorists will be able to cross the bridge and

link up to Route 6, 45 km to the north and east of the Tonle Sap River.

Repair of the road will entail the reconstruction of numerous bridges

destroyed by repetitive flooding and the civil war. Completion of the repair of

the bridges is scheduled for November. Repairs to the road will be completed in

September of 1994.

Work to reconstruct the bridge began in December 1992.

Imamura said that "the operation has been very complex, a great deal of danger

was involved. The bridge has been courageously built in the face of many

difficulties."

In the first phase of the project existing piers were

demolished and the under water site was cleared. In succeeding phases of the

operation, the bridge's substructure had to be built under water. The

substructure was completed by the end of July, 1993.

A three block

superstructure was fabricated in Japan and shipped to Cambodia, arriving in

Phnom Penh via the Mekong in early September. Since the three span continuous

steel box girders were installed, resurfacing has been completed and a new

pavement was completed in December 1993.

The project involved 20 to 30

expatriate staff, and an average of 150 Cambodian workers.

Workers

received on-site training. Welders working off the western edge of the bridge

said that they were being paid $80 a month, and could make as much as $100 a

month total with overtime.

One group of people who will benefit from the

opening of the bridge are the students at the Prek Leap Agricultural College, 10

km north of the city. Students said that they were happy about the bridge

because it would be easier to get to Phnom Penh.

Staff at the college

said that they had some concern about security once the bridge eases access to

Phnom Penh, but they thought that the local farmers would benefit. "But the

ferry boats will probably move elsewhere," one staff member said.

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