Two pedestrian bridges aimed at relieving the overwhelming congestion that led to last year’s fatal Diamond Island bridge stampede were inaug-urated yesterday by Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema and about 200 government off-icials and onlookers.
The Twin Dragon bridges connect the north side of Diamond Island to the mainland and run parallel to the bridge that was the site of last year’s Water Festival stampede, in which 347 people were killed.
Its inauguration comes two days before this year’s Water Festival celebration.
Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema told reporters after yesterday’s ceremony the bridges would help reduce traffic and avoid another tra-gic incident.
Pong Khieu Se, president of the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation, which constructed the bridges, said it cost about US$2 million and measured 100 metres long by 12.5 metres wide.
Public safety during this year’s Water Festival has been an area of scrutiny in the wake of last year’s tragedy.
Municipal police commiss-ioner Touch Naruth said yesterday 5,000 policemen would be prepared to provide security and maintain public order during this year’s celebration.
“Police will be deployed at 77 checkpoints throughout the city in order to facilitate traffic during the festival and provide safety, as well as to prevent another stampede,” he said.
The commissioner said this was mainly a precautionary measure, as officials were expecting a smaller turnout this year, compared to previous years, as the government had cancelled the boat-race part of the festival to divert funds to flood relief.