The Cambodian government has reached out to China for a loan to construct a road and bridge that crosses the Tonle Sap River and connects Kampong Chhnang to Kampong Thom provinces.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced delays to the project in 2019.

Heng Rathpiseth, head of the General Department of Public Work at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on July 13 that the request had not yet been granted by the Chinese side.

“We have yet to sign this loan. The request was made formally again for building a bridge across the Tonle Sap River in Kampong Chhnang province,” he said.

Under the project, the 3,900m bridge connecting Kampong Chhnang to Kampong Thom would be built across three tributaries – the Phsar Krom, Chul Mok and Kampong Hav rivers. The 57.3km road would be built from Kampong Chhnang province’s Kampong Leng district to Kampong Thom province’s Stung Sen district.

The project is estimated to cost around $200 million.

Kampong Chhnang province governor Sun Sovannarith said the project was good news for everybody, whether in the province or not.

He said this bridge will contribute significantly to national economic growth, especially tourism in Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom provinces.

“This project belongs to the public works ministry. So, provincial authorities do not have a master plan yet. But if it is like before, the province is ready to cooperate and address any impact,” Sovannarith said.

Kong Sovann, a public health specialist and director of International Safety Fund Programme, said that usually the provision of a loan was different from a grant relating to socio-economic issues and international relations between two countries.

However, He believed that the request will be approved by the Chinese government soon because relations between the governments have been strong.

“I think this request will be approved because we have seen that the Chinese government has helped Cambodia a lot in terms of infrastructure. But what is more important, as a technician, I think of the safety and quality of the bridge and road engineering,” he said.

Sovann expected that when the project begins, the government will think carefully about quality and safety, especially providing knowledge for people about any impacts that arise under the project.