Cambodia is heavily investing in modernising and expanding its infrastructure, and in November 2023, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) confirmed that 10 major bridges with a total length of 10.89 km and a budget of USD $372 million were under construction.
These bridges are; a bridge over the Sekong River, Stung Treng, 2 bridges along the Tonle Sap River (Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, Prek Kdam and Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, Chroy Changvar II), 3 bridges along the Bassac River (Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge Takhmao, Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, Koh Thom and Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, Sitbo), and one flyover, Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge, Sen Sok).
This is in addition to several new airports under development (with Siem Reap International Airport the only one in operation) and 31 new roads (measuring 3,077 km) at a cost of USD $2.18 billion via Chinese concessional loans and grants.
These Chinese-approved concessional loans and grants have thus far resulted in the completion and construction of projects to a total value of USD $3.34 billion.
These include the construction of bridges which span the Mekong River:
- Mekong Stung Treng Bridge
- Prek Tamak Bridge
- Stung Treng-Krouch Chhmar Bridge
Japanese and South Korean funding for bridges has also enabled the capital city of Phnom Penh to be better connected to the neighbouring provinces and internally.
Koh Pich-Koh Nora Cable Bridge
This cable-stayed concrete bridge was completed in October 2023 after three years of construction and connects Koh Pich to Koh Nora across the Bassac River. Its development is seen as a significant development in the city, easing traffic congestion that has been a sore point in the area and was limiting its growth.
The official inauguration of the cable-stay bridge was held on October 15, and was initially temporarily opened to cater for the increased traffic during the cultural Pchum Ben holiday.
The bridge aims to address traffic congestion at the Monivong Bridge, which connects the Chhbar Ampov commune to central Phnom Penh - so the bridge is a crucial link between the eastern and western parts of the capital. It now directly connects two major districts: from Russey Keo and via National Road 5, passing through the roundabout at OCIC Boulevard to National Road 6 in Chroy Changvar.
Although a passenger ferry service operates near the site of the bridge, it was not sufficient to meet the needs of an increasing number of users and the bridge also contributes to improving the transportation of goods and services across the city.
With a total length of 824 meters and a width of 20.5 meters, there is a speed limit on the bridge of 40 km/h.
The total cost of the project was approximately USD $35 million and its construction was overseen by the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) and the funding provided by the Koh Norea Development Area Fund of the OCIC.
As a spectacle with the Cambodian flag emblazoned brightly at night along the cable structures, it has become a popular landmark in the city and served as a backdrop to many a photo during the Water Festival held in Phnom Penh in November 2023.
Russey Keo Bridge
This 20.5 meter-wide cable-stayed concrete bridge crosses the Tonle Sap River and is accompanied by a new Russey Keo overpass in Prek Tasek commune of Chroy Changva district. The Phnom Penh bridge was trialled during the Khmer New Year in April 2023 to test its development.
The expectations were that this would ease traffic congestion in the northern area of the capital and the Russey Keo Bridge was finally inaugurated in June 2023.
At a length of 922 metres long and 20.5 metres wide, construction began in October 2017 and the total cost was USD $35 million before its competition.
Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge - Phnom Penh to Svay Chrum
The proposed Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge would be the first bridge to connect Phnom Penh to Svay Chrum, located in Kandal province - with the city being linked to Arey Ksat from the Phnom Penh Night Market area.
This means the bridge would need to cross two rivers, the Tonle Sap and the Upper Mekong.
The Korean government is exploring the project, and in November 2023 it was confirmed the development would go ahead with a concessional loan from the South Koreans.
It is proposed the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge will be divided into two parts;
- One part crosses from the Phnom Penh old market/ night market area to Chroy Changva;
- The second part would be built between Chroy Changva to Svay Chrum
The bridge project will also facilitate travel on the two Chroy Changva bridges, the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge (old bridge) and the newer Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge (new bridge). The latter was completed in November 2021 so it is also a relatively new addition to the Cambodian capital.
Chak Angre - Prek Pra Bridge (over the Bassac River)
The Prek Pra Bridge was announced in August 2023 and is planned to be built from Chak Angre (which is located in Meanchey district) to the south of the city, and across the Bassac River to Prek Pra (which is located in Chbar Ampov district).
The intention is to further help relieve traffic congestion on both the Monivong Bridge and Prek Samrong Bridge (Takhmao Bridge).
The most recent news is that the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is negotiating with the Chinese for the construction of this bailey (or truss) style bridge, which when completed, could be 845 meters long and divided into 4 traffic lanes at an estimated cost of approximately USD $60 million.
The bridge project was studied by the Chinese company Shanghai Construction Group Co., Ltd. (SCG) and had previously been approved by former Prime Minister Hun Sen.
This Prek Pra bridge was scheduled for foundation work starting in 2023 and a groundbreaking ceremony to be held before the end of the year.
The 1,761-metre-long bridge with a 13.5 meters width is being built across the Mekong River in Kratie province with a budget of approximately USD $110-114 million after being launched by former Cambodian PM Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian on January 2, 2023. The funding is sourced with concessional loans from the Chinese government and will also include a contribution from the Royal Government of Cambodia
The project is expected to take about 42 months to complete with a target completion date in 2026. The projects will also connect 31.69 kilometres of roads as well as four intermediate bridges with a total length of 384 metres.
By July 2023, the bridge was reported as being 15 per cent complete and is being overseen by the Kratie Provincial Department of Public Works and Transport.
It's another location with ferry services but crossing the completed bridge is expected to be free so it will benefit local users.
Funan Techo Canal Impact
The proposed Funan Techo Canal, which is planned to cost about USD $1.7 billion and could take four years to complete, was announced in May 2023.
This project could (or should) result in further waterway and bridge construction from Phnom Penh all the way to the Cambodian southern coast.
Interconnectivity Leads To Increased Property Pricing
As a recent article illustrated, the completion of these urban bridges can breathe new economic life into areas that previously were more difficult to reach from the city centre. Koh Norea is seeing increased land and property pricing with an average of $800-$1,700 per square metre while the land within the OCIC development zone is in the region of $2,500-$4,000 says Singapore Development Company AKRAM Development Co., Ltd. Its anticipated prices will also rise in areas such as Koh Pich and Tonle Bassac.
Private land sale prices in Chbar Ampov are estimated to be around $2000 per metre, while rental prices on Koh Pich for a studio costs $350-500 per month, a one-bedroom from $450-650 and two-bedroom units average $700-$1,200.