Feature: Locals cheer as work on China-funded river bridge begins in Cambodian capital

(Xinhua) 09:37, February 20, 2024

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Local resident Nov Ratha was delighted on Monday as work on a China-funded bridge across the Bassac River began here in the southern part of Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, saying that the bridge will save travelers both time and money.

"This new bridge project is very good for local people in this area because there is heavy traffic congestion on the two existing bridges," Nov, a resident in Chbar Ampov district, told Xinhua while attending a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the bridge.

The 845.7-meter-long, 27-meter-wide bridge, along with an 804.3-meter connecting road, will be built by the Shanghai Construction Group and it is expected to be completed in 42 months.

Linking Meanchey district in the west with Chbar Ampov district in the east, the bridge will play a crucial role in dealing with the rising number of people and vehicles in the capital.

"We are all very happy because it will facilitate our travel to and fro, and will also respond to the growing number of people and vehicles," Nov added.

The 52-year-old mother of three children said the bridge will link not only residents on both sides of the Bassac River, but also the hearts of the peoples of Cambodia and China.

"As a Cambodian citizen, I'm really grateful to China for always supporting Cambodia, with no political strings attached," she said.

Prak Essra, a 59-year-old resident in Meanchey district, said the bridge will reduce travel time and ease traffic jams, contributing to the better development of the economy.

"It currently takes a long time to cross the river because travelers need to take a detour through a bridge on the right side or another bridge on the left side," he told Xinhua.

"When the construction of this bridge is completed, travelers will take a shorter time to cross the river," he said. "This bridge will provide great benefit to travelers by saving time and money."

Speaking to thousands of participants at the groundbreaking ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet said the project will improve the efficiency of people's travel, goods transport, and logistics in Phnom Penh and Kandal province as it will also serve as a link to the Techo Takhmao International Airport.

"China has become the top provider of a great deal of concessional loans and grant aid to Cambodia for transport infrastructure development," Hun Manet said.

The Cambodian prime minister added that China-funded transport infrastructure projects have not only improved Cambodia's intra-connectivity, but also better connected the kingdom with its neighboring countries.

"On behalf of the people and government of Cambodia, I'd like to express my profound thanks to the people and government of China for always supporting the development of Cambodia in all areas and in all circumstances, without any strings attached," he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian expressed confidence that the new bridge project will give an extra boost to the development of Cambodia's economy, particularly in the southern part of Phnom Penh and its adjacent province of Kandal.

He said the project was a new testimony to the ironclad friendship between China and Cambodia.

"Under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, our comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation has achieved sustainable and high-quality development, injecting vigorous impetus into building a China-Cambodia community with a shared future in the new era," he said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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