Gov’t To Build Animal-Shaped Suspension Bridges to Koh Pich

The Phnom Penh municipality plans to build two suspension bridges connecting Koh Pich island to the National Assembly and So­thearos Boulevard—resembling a swan and a dragon, respectively—according to officials and a City Hall statement received Monday.

The construction will support development of a satellite city on the island, which lies opposite Naga­Corp Casino. City Hall said that it would build a new road near Hun Sen Park along the Tonle Bassac’s bank, also to support the development, asking villagers in the area to clear their settlements.

“The Municipality would like to appeal to all people [to] demolish your anarchic buildings,” said the statement dated Aug 28.

Municipal Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said the bridges’ construction will cost $4 million, taken from the $50 million the government is to receive from its lease of Koh Pich.

The government agreed to lease the 80-hectare island to Overseas Cambodian Investment Corp, the parent company of Canadia Bank, in January 2006. Company representatives said at the time that development plans for the island included hotels, villas, offices, cultural and tourism areas, a shopping mall and a 222-meter-high tower.

Touch Samnang, project manager for the company, said that construction of the bridge to the Na­tional Assembly began in February and would be finished within a year. The bridge, which will be 100-meter-long and 20-meter-wide, will be built to resemble a “mythological swan,” he said.

Construction of the second bridge, which will resemble a dragon, is slated to begin early next year, Touch Samnang said.

The road development lies in the areas of Village 14 and Village 8. SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said Monday that the municipality should offer a “fair deal” to the affected villagers before starting development.

Pa Socheatvong said that he did not know how many people would be affected by the development, but added: “We have compensation for those who live on public land, and for those who have land titles already.”


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