The inauguration of seven bridges in Kratie and Prey Veng provinces was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 16. The bridges were built at a cost of about $40 million, with Japan contributing a $35 million grant and the government covering the shortfall.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said at the opening ceremony that this new achievement illustrated the precious bonds of friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and Japan.
“[We] rebuilt these bridges in response to the flooding that occurs during the rainy season. The flooding destroys roads and causes difficulty in transporting goods and people across the two provinces,” he said.
Chanthol said the bridges – five in Kratie and two in Prey Veng – had become part of the connection and support infrastructure of National Road 73 in Kratie and National Road 11 in Prey Veng, both crucial transport links between the central and southern economic corridors.
The construction project – which included 670m of bridge and an additional 3,424m of connecting roads – utilised 10cm thick asphalt concrete for the roads and buffered the riverbanks near the bridges against the impact of flooding. Construction began in June 2018 and was completed 29 months later in December last year. The works were carried out Hazama Ando Corporation and inspected by CTI Engineering International Co, Ltd.
Chanthol added that the development of transport network infrastructure across the country could be attributed to peace and political stability.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked Japan for its continuous support. He also chided unnamed critics who criticised him for accepting financial support from development partners.
“Some people disparage and suggest that I am a leader who begs for help. I begged, but I did not beg to decorate my mansion. I beg to build bridges, roads, canals, schools, hospitals and many other things that serve my people,” he said.
He added that Cambodia’s progress could not be separated from the assistance of all development partners, and particularly the contribution of Japan. He said Japan had been especially forthcoming in the construction of transport infrastructure, leading to greater connectivity between the regions.
“I am pleased to take this opportunity – in the presence of ambassador Masahiro Mikami and representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency – to thank the Japanese government for funding the construction of these seven bridges. They are a grand addition to our transport network,” he stated.
Mikami said the development of infrastructure was very important for remote areas that would not otherwise be economically favourable, and hoped the bridges would support the growth of the region.
“Although this project is not very prominent, I am very proud that it will contribute to the people who were hit by frequent floods and suffered transportation disruptions as a result,” he added.