A new toll bridge built over the Tonle Sap river on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh to take the strain off the Japanese Friendship Bridge will be opened by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, officials said yesterday.
The new $20 million Prek Pnov Bridge, located in the capital’s Russei Keo district, has been developed by business tycoon and CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat, who already operates another toll bridge in Koh Kong province.
During a visit to his new bridge on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Yong Phat declined to talk about it, saying he was too busy, while his bodyguards threatened to use violence against a reporter if he continued to ask questions.
The new bridge will link National Road 6A on the eastern bank of the Tonle Sap to National Road 5 on the western bank, helping to solve the chronic traffic congestion on the arterial routes into the capital, Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema said yesterday.
Mr Chuktema said that after the bridge opened to the public next week, heavy trucks transporting goods to and from Cambodia’s northwestern provinces would no longer be allowed to cross the Japanese Friendship Bridge.
He added that trucks would have to pay more than $2 for the toll bridge, small cars would pay 5,000 riel (about $1.25), while motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians would be able to cross for free.
“There would be a station for big trucks, as City Hall’s goal because there are so many cars and cause traffic jam,” Mr Chuktema said. “Heavy trucks would be not allowed [to cross the Japanese bridge]. They all must cross at Prek Pnov bridge.”
Mr Yong Phat has previously said that he plans to hand over control of the bridge to City Hall after about 25 years.
Uk Phalla, 36, a mother of six and resident of Russei Keo district’s Prek Tasek commune, watched Mr Yong Phat’s convoy of luxury cars drive across the new bridge Wednesday afternoon, happy that she too would soon be able to use it.
“I will no longer have problems crossing the river…. Last time when my children became sick and I needed to send them to hospital, I had to take the boat,” she said.