"Bay Area Economic Circle" starting to form in Phnom Penh
Updated on: June 7, 2022, 6:29 a.m.
Published on: January 6, 2022, 3:23 a.m.

"Bay Area Economic Circle" starting to form in Phnom Penh

A rendered image of the Svay Chrum Bridge connecting Areyksach in Kandal to Metro Phnom Penh. Supplied.

On January 3, 2022, South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Park Heung-Kyeong, joined Prime Minister Hun Sen in the groundbreaking ceremony of National Road No. 48 - a coastal road connecting Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong.

The National Road 48 was funded by the Republic of South Korea to the tune of US $78 million and is being constructed by Ilsung & Hanil Joint Venture.

During the ceremony, the South Korean Ambassador revealed that the South Korean government is exploring the possibility of a bridge connecting Phnom Penh to the Areyksach area in Kandal province.

The Areyksach area is located on the bank of the Mekong River in Kandal Province, east of Phnom Penh City. It is opposite Koh Pich (Diamond Island) and is a riverfront area with great development potential for its wide and flatlands. According to the urban master plan issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Government, the Areyksach district will be under the jurisdiction of Phnom Penh in the future and is earmarked to be a satellite city with large shopping malls, modern residences, office buildings and leisure and entertainment.

The South Korean government intends to build a bridge to both improve Phnom Penh’s economic outlook and strengthen the friendship between the two countries. According to a report by the Khmer Times, the technical teams carried out research on site selection and construction plans, and are considering building the friendship bridge from either Chroy Changvar or Daun Penh’s Riverside.

“We are finalising the details of the bridge project. After that, we will open bids for the construction of the bridge. I think the bridge could be built in 2023,” said Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport.

Many residents of Kandal province presently use ferries to get across the Mekong River into Phnom Penh. Building a bridge and physically connecting the population centres is expected to alleviate traffic congestion and make travel much more convenient.

"Bay Area Economic Circle" starting to form in Phnom Penh

Cross the Mekong as part of the city's expansion plans would be a landmark achievement for Phnom Penh's developers and urban planners; joining other developed cities in incorporating rivers into its metropolis. Supplied.

Phnom Penh’s outward expansion has been an ongoing trend in the city's property sector. In the past few years, the capital city has seen Sen Sok develop into an urban centre with plenty of residential choices and supporting commercial areas. The district of Meanchey is similarly seeing interest since the completion of the Hun Sen Boulevard in 2018 and the construction of AEON Mall 3, soon to be the largest purpose-built shopping mall in Cambodia. The southern district is now the site of several sprawling boreys from the Kingdom’s most well-known developers.

The Cambodia-South Korea Friendships Bridge, to be known as the “Svay Chrum Bridge”, opens up the potential for an eastward expansion of Phnom Penh. Chroy Changvar, one of the shortlisted sites for the upcoming bridge, has been a hotspot of borey and condominium projects in the past few years. Key developments such as Morodok Techo National Stadium and the adjacent WorldBridge Sport Village are expanding the possibilities of where Phnom Penh residents can settle down.

Koh Norea Satellite City is one of the largest developments Phnom Penh is seeing to date. Supplied.

On the southern end, the Chbar Ampov district is a major population centre home to almost 170,000 residents. It hosts several residential and commercial developments, as well as a new bridge connecting Koh Pich and Chbar Ampov known as the Koh Norea Bridge. The landmark development in this district, however, is the Koh Norea Satellite City, being developed by the OCIC to the tune of US $2 billion. The satellite city has reached its 30% completion milestone and stands directly opposite the Areyksach district in Kandal, only separated by the Mekong.

Current development plans are pointing to an eastward expansion of the capital city. Future plans of incorporating Areyksach into Phnom Penh serve as an endpoint for what appears to be a continued pincer movement coming from the Chroy Changvar in the north and Chbar Ampov in the south. At present, the infrastructure plans mentioned above are still in different stages of development. However, based on what we have seen from Cambodia’s developers and planners, such undertakings are only a matter of time.