Land reclamation presses on at a cracking pace in southeastern Phnom Penh’s colossal 125ha Koh Norea satellite city project a year on from the Covid-19 pandemic as preliminary infrastructure development reaches 45 per cent completion, according to the management of Overseas Cambodian Investment Corp Ltd (OCIC).

OCIC plans to spend a total of $2.5 billion to develop the project – located in Chbar Ampov district’s Niroth commune opposite Koh Pich, which is also known as Diamond Island.

The company is also building two bridges for $39.6 million, which broke ground in October.

At 824m long and 24.5m wide, the first bridge will link Koh Pich to Koh Norea and feature two 60m high cable-stayed pillars. It is expected to cost $38 million and take 35 months to complete, with investment by OCIC and Chinese firm Cana Sino Construction Corp (CSCC).

Measuring 60m long and 21m wide, the second bridge will also be cable-stayed and connect Koh Norea to National Road 1.

Since January last year, OCIC has been filling the river bank with stone and sand, as well as paving the riverbank with concrete as part of the preliminary infrastructure, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

OCIC deputy director Touch Samnang told The Post on March 10 that the project had not yet launched sales and that the company was focusing its resources on building the infrastructure for the time being.

“Construction on the Koh Norea development project is proceeding according to company plans. The spread of Covid-19 has not interrupted the process,” he said.

OCIC does not yet have an estimate for the number of large-scale constructions to be built on the project, he admitted, noting that projections will hinge on economic growth and the aggregate value of investment inflows.

He likened the project to Koh Pich, which now boasts scores of larger buildings and high-rises.

Koh Norea is set to become a commercial centre and a “luxury” residential area teeming with, inter alia, shipping districts, public parks, cinemas, luxurious homes and banks, Samnang said.

Advance Real Estate Co Ltd founder and CEO Po Eavkong said the project had yet to have a significant impact on property transactions and prices due to the current Covid-19 atmosphere.

“The real estate market there will rebound after more of the infrastructure is completed and the situation of the Covid-19 epidemic is brought under wraps,” he said.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the two bridges, OCIC CEO Pung Kheav Se noted that the Council of Ministers issued letter No 1085 NS on October 28, 2018, which granted the company permission to develop the project.

He said $550 million will be spent on infrastructure development in the satellite city, including the bridges.

“The infrastructure project currently employs 700 people, and the figure could potentially rise to 7,000 at the peak of construction activity.

“An additional 10,000 job opportunities will be on the horizon once the Koh Norea development area is completed,” Kheav Se said, adding that the project will be able to receive 50,000 residents upon completion.