Monday, June 1, 2009

Government Inaugurates New Preah Monivong Bridge

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The opening ceremony for the new Preah Monivong flyover was held on May 27 in Phnom Penh, under the auspices of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife.

The new Bridge is over 269.50 meters long and 14 meters wide and cost US$10, 489,097 to build. The Overseas Cambodian Investment Company (OCIC) provided funding. It is a replica of the existing Monivong Bridge and was constructed with reinforced concrete and supported by polygonal pillars. Situated 30 meters from the old bridge, it is equipped with electricity and a 1.2-meter-wide water supply pipe to supply clean water to areas east of the bridge.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said this new bridge would be convenient for travelers in the city and connect the provinces to the capital. It is also to help the government reduce traffic jams and road traffic accidents.

“Today all people in Phnom Penh as well as other cities and provinces will receive another huge achievement to add to those already accomplished over thirty years of political stability,” Hun Sen told the crowd of onlookers.

The Premier pointed out that in 1979, following liberation, such a project would never be considered, as the city was nothing but a ghost town containing a few hundred people.

The Cambodian People’s Party led by Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly, Samdech Chea Sim, President of the Senate and other officials, have worked very hard, using their lives as capital to liberate and build the second Kingdom of Cambodia, said Hun Sen.

He also said that because of hard work, a strong national will and patience during the past 30 years, the government brought a real peace, political stability and development for all.

His Majesty the King will also use the new bridge during celebrations of His 57th Birthday. The bridge will also be in use for the Queen Mother’s Birthday on June 18, as well as the King’s Father’s Birthday.

The Premier emphasized that in continuing along the path towards development, the government will strengthen the Rule of Law, democratic institutions and continue to rehabilitate the infrastructure. He said currently, the government is constructing two bridges in Phnom Penh – the Prek Phnov Bridge and Prek Kdam Bridge with construction scheduled for completion by the end of the year. He added the government also plans to construct three more bridges – the Chroy Changvar, the Prek Ta Meak, and the Neak Loeung Bridge, in the near future.

Kep Chuktema, Phnom Penh Governor, said the original bridge constructed in 1929 was known as “Chroy Ar Ek Bridge”. The bridge was later demolished in the 1960s and replaced by the concrete “Preah Monivong Bridge”.

Chuktema said that the bridge was starting to show its age, especially along the northern and eastern Chhbar Ampove end of the structure. He suspected that it would soon be unable to cope with the increase in traffic and heavy goods vehicles. Added to this, plans to upgrade National Road 1 and integrate it into the ASEAN highway meant a new bridge was indispensable.

The Governor said the bridge was funded by OCIC, with additional work provided by the Sino-Pacific Corporation. MSL of Hong Kong provided further consultation.

He pointed out that an over bridge located over the existing and new Preah Monivong Bridges would further reduce congestion. This over bridge will be 308m long, 14.2m wide and 7.4m high.

One side of the over bridge will be located before the General Headquarters of the National Police on Norodom Boulevard. The other side will be situated on road 2 in front of the Hospital, said Keep Chuktema. This will be built by OCIC for US$ 6, 048, 424, the cost including six meters of widening work on Norodom Boulevard and National Road Number 2.

He added that the groundbreaking ceremony for the over bridge is scheduled for May 26, 2009 with completion coming no later than one year after the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This is another landmark for Phnom Penh, one that contributes to a core transportation system, one that fosters Phnom Penh’s development targets.”

He also said that Cambodia is in a good position in terms of economic development, governmental institutions, democratic integrity, respect for human rights and dignity, growth of the civil society and freedom of expression. These have transformed Cambodia to the point where she is ready to play a role on the world stage.

The Governor said that in the past few years, the Phnom Penh Municipality has experienced robust positive changes in terms of security, safety and beautification. Presently, it is considering plans to celebrate the city’s 575th anniversary as Cambodia’s capital.

“This is a matter of great pride for citizens of Phnom Penh and the country as a whole. We may thank Prime Minister Hun Sen for maintaining this jewel of a city at the heart of our Angkorian nation”. ////

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