Improvements to Preah Vihear Access Road Are Under Way

Progress has begun on improving the notoriously treacherous road leading up to Preah Vihear temple.

Huot Kheang Veng, assistant to Bayon TV Director-General Hun Mana, said last week that more than half of a planned 7-meter-wide, nearly 4-km-long concrete road had already been laid down.

The Bayon TV Foundation has been raising money since July for the construction of the road up Preah Vihear mountain, atop which the temple sits.

“We have finished 2 km out of 3.8 km,” he said. “We will finish by January 2009. We started in August.”

He said that $600,000 has been spent so far on the project, and the foundation has $280,000 left over from fundraising efforts so far.

Others are poised to begin work on roads in the area as soon as the rainy season ends.

They will be working on 80 km of road from Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng town to Sra’em village about 30 km from Preah Vihear temple.

“We will start as soon as possible. Now, we have been preparing the steel…to start construction after the rains,” he said, adding that he didn’t know how much the project would cost, but that they expect to finish by the end of 2009.

Phann Sam An, director of the Pre­ah Vihear provincial public works and transportation department, said last week that Chinese company Seanghai Construction Co is nearly ready to begin paving 150 km of roads leading up to the temple.

He said the company will pave 34 km along Road 210 from Koh Ker temple to the provincial capital of Tbeng Meanchey, as well as 110 km of Road 62, which diverges from Road 210 and leads to the base of Preah Vihear mountain. They will also pave 6 km of road up the mountain, he said.

“The Chinese company is waiting until the rain finishes. They do not care about Preah Vihear tensions,” he said.

Defense Ministry engineering department Director Kwann Seam said his ministry will also begin road construction in the area following the rainy season.

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