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Riverfront renovation on schedule

Riverfront renovation on schedule

DEVELOPMENT of Phnom Penh’s Tonle Sap riverfront, in particular a flood-prevention system, is proceeding on schedule, according to officials from the city’s Department of Public Works and Transport.

“We can almost say that we completed the project before the deadline,” Department Deputy Director Meoung Sophan said, adding that, so far, everything had gone to plan.

“Our remaining job is just to renovate the parks.”

The project was begun to help protect Phnom Penh against flooding, as well as reduce any residual damage, including erosion, caused by seasonal deluges. The banks were built over and covered with concrete cubes, which bear the brunt of waves and prevent the soil below from being washed away. Gardens are also being landscaped to beautify the riverfront.

According to the plan, the construction – contracted to Japanese company Kubota – started in October 2007 and was set to be completed by March 15 this year at a cost of 2.15 billion yen (around US$2.4 million).

Som Samoth, chief of the Parks and Plants Unit of the department, was unable to specify a date when the gardens would be completed.

The manager of Cadillac Bar and Grill on Sisowath Quay, But Reaksha, said the nearly complete developments were improving her business and would be worth the wait.

“It’s very good for our business because customers, they sit out in the front and they can see the garden. It’s more beautiful than before,” she said.
“Before, they couldn’t sit outside because there was [only] dirt.”

She said the restaurant opened in April 2008, just six months after the riverside development began. The construction had not affected the number of customers, she added, as only Cambodian street vendors had been relocated by the development.

“Before [construction] our business was so-so; now it is good,” she said. “It’s a good idea at night because more families that stay here can go [to the riverside] and bring their kids.”

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