Cambodia has completed the construction of Neak Loeung Bridge, the kingdom’s longest bridge across Mekong River, after the country spent nearly four years to build it under Japanese aid.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and visiting Japanese parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Kazuyuki Nakane jointly marked the symbolic completion of the bridge on Wednesday (1st April 2015) and named it as “Tsubasa bridge”. Addressing the ceremony, Hun Sen said the bridge will be officially opened for traffic before Khmer New Year in April.
“The bridge is part of ASEAN highway, which links the western part of Kandal province and the eastern part of Prey Veng province toward Vietnam,” he said. “It will facilitate cross-border transportation and tourism between Cambodia and Vietnam.”
At the event, the prime minister announced the launch of a 500- riel banknote, displaying a portrait of King Norodom Sihamoni on the obverse and pictures of Japanese-funded Kizona bridge and Tsubasa bridge on the reverse. “The launch of the new 500-riel banknote is to show the friendly relations and cooperation between Cambodia and Japan,” he said.
Nakane said the bridge is a gift from the people of Japan to Cambodia as the ASEAN set to become a community at the end of this year. “I have confidence that the bridge will facilitate the flow of traffic between Cambodia and Vietnam, and will contribute to boosting the development of Cambodian economy,” he said.
Built by Japanese Sumitomo Mitsu Construction, the Tsubasa bridge is 13.5 meters wide and 2,215 meters long, and as high as 37 meters from the water surface, Cambodian transport minister Tram Iv Tek said. “The bridge is the biggest and longest one in Cambodia,” he said. “It is estimated to cost 95 million U.S. dollars, which is the first largest grant of the government and people of Japan to Cambodia.”
Prior to the Tsubasa bridge, road traffic between Phnom Penh City and Ho Chi Minh City was linked by ferries across the Mekong River.