By the time Khmer New Year rolls around, people in Phnom Penh will be able to stroll along the Riverside, connecting the park in front of the Royal Palace to the twin bridges that link to Diamond Island, City Hall said.
City Hall Spokesman, Long Dimanche, said, “If everything goes according to plan, around Khmer New Year, people in Phnom Penh will be able to walk or jog along the Riverside walkway.”
“We are sure that the walkway will start operating next month,” he added. This walkway passes along the Chaktomok Hall Theatre, Himawari Hotel, Cambodiana Hotel, to finally weave its way to Koh Pich.
“The Phnom Penh administration is pushing for the completion of the walkway construction. This project, when finished, will measure 4.15 kilometres,” Pa Socheatvong wrote on his Facebook page after examining the recent progress. “[The project] is split into two phases. The first phase will be from the tourism information center to the twin bridges in Diamond Island, measuring at about 950 metres long, with a width that ranges from seven to 15 metres.”
“The Phnom Penh administration hopes that the walkway project will be able to play a role in making the capital even more beautiful, as well as make it easier for people to take a stroll, and act as a public exercising spot for tourists along the Riverside,” he added.
According to Dimanche, the second phase will begin from Diamond Island’s twin bridges to the Monivong Bridge, with construction starting as soon as phase one is 100 per cent completed. “The third phase, though, will start from the Night Market and run towards Chroy Changvar Bridge.”
Dimanche refused to comment on the cost of this project or the cooperating partner, Luns Transport & Logistic.
“Besides beautifying the city, the development along the river will prevent the riverbank from collapsing,” he said, adding that the walkway will be strictly used for recreational activities.
A senior manager at Himawari Hotel, who wished to remain anonymous, said that there has been a downside to this advantageous project.
“The completion for this walkway project had been delayed far too many times, and had posed some issues for the Himawari,” he said.
“The project had begun in May 2015 and was scheduled to finish many months ago, but construction had halted for a while, possibly due to technical difficulties,” he said.
“Once the walkway is opened, I hope it walkway will be nicely done and early morning joggers might stop for coffee and breakfast,” he added.
While Ho Vandy, counselor to the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and managing director of World Express Tours and Travel, said that the project was beneficial, he voiced concerns over how the project will be regularly maintained.
“City Hall should lay out stricter cleaning and maintenance measures for parks and public spaces because there is trash on almost every corner,” he said.
“Also, they need to install lighting to make it safe for locals and tourists if they are walking at night.”