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Japan to study $120m Mekong bridge plan

Japan to study $120m Mekong bridge plan

T HE Japanese government is sending a team of engineering experts to Cambodia to do a feasibility study on a new bridge over the Mekong river, an embassy official said on Sept 13.

The most likely site for the bridge would be at the Cambodian ferry port of Neak Loeng, about 60 km southeast of Phnom Penh, he said.

"The Japanese government is preparing to dispatch a technical study team to analyze this [proposal]," said the official, who requested anonymity, adding the engineering team was likely to arrive within the next few months.

The official dismissed as "premature" a report in a Cambodian newspaper that Japan had agreed to fund the bridge, estimated to cost $120 million.

"We have not yet decided to fund the project - it's an enormous amount - we have not yet committed that money," he said, adding: "We should do this very carefully to study the cost, location, social impact."

Only one bridge now spans the Mekong river, the Australian-funded Thai-Lao "Friendship" bridge linking northeast Nong Khai with Thadeua in Laos.

The Mekong flows through Cambodia and out to the South China Sea via southern Vietnam.

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