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Strategic National Road 21 stretch opens

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Prime Minister Hun Sen views a map of National Road 21 at its inauguration ceremony. SPM

Strategic National Road 21 stretch opens

A nearly 64km stretch of National Road 21 connecting the Takhmao roundabout in Kandal province’s Takhmao town to the Cambodian-Vietnamese international border checkpoint between Chrey Thom and Vietnam’s Long Binh was formally inaugurated on March 23.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said the stretch was built at a cost of nearly $61 million in grants from the South Korean government, along with a Cambodian government contribution to address impacts, mine clearance and other assorted costs.

“This section of National Road 21 is very important – it is a strategic connection between Phnom Penh and many national road networks. It links the capital to National Road 2, the second and third city ring roads and National Roads 21A and 21B,” he said.

South Korean ambassador Park Heung-kyeong also hailed the road, which he said was a byproduct of Cambodia-Korea friendship.

“The road plays an important role in facilitating transportation between Cambodia and Vietnam, especially commercial goods and agricultural products. The road had also opened up several border areas for development and growth,” he said.

The project was built in two phases, the first of which was a 55km road from the Takhmao roundabout in Takhmao town to Koh Thom district’s Prek Sdey commune. The second extended an 8.6km road from Prek Sdey to the Chrey Thom bridge.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also mentioned the imminent construction of new bridges that would connect central Phnom Penh to Kandal province’s Arey Ksat area, saying that South Korea had already agreed to fund the construction.

He noted that two bridges would be built. The first would extend from the Night Market in the capital’s Daun Penh district across the Tonle Sap to the Chroy Changvar peninsula, with the second connecting Chroy Changvar to Arey Ksat. They will also address traffic congestion on the existing Chroy Changvar bridges.

“We will construct these bridges without the use of pillars – we will high tensile steel cables to facilitate waterway traffic. I have already confirmed with President Moon Jae-in and the Speaker of the Korean National Assembly that we agree to the construction of these important infrastructure projects,” he said.

He added that when the bridges are complete, he expects them to become attractions for both foreign and domestic tourists, as their modern cable construction will make them very beautiful. This is just one more benefit of the close diplomatic ties between the two nations – and one more reason why he had worked so hard to achieve them.

“I am dreaming of the day that I will be able to walk or ride from the night market to Arey Ksat via the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridges. The pillar-less construction means that they won’t impede river traffic either. This is a very important consideration if, like me, you cannot wait for the return of the Water Festival and the boat racing that accompanies it. We will all be enjoying that rich celebration of our unique Khmer culture as soon as Covid infections drop,” he said.

The Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridges are scheduled to be constructed in 2023.


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