Truck Carrying Over 40 Tons Causes M’kiri Bridge Collapse

A truck carrying more than 40 tons of cement and bricks caused a bridge in Mondolkiri province to collapse on Monday night, cutting off access to a large section of eastern Pech Chreada district and the popular Bosra waterfall, officials said.

The O’Phly bridge, which had a weight limit of 20 tons, leads to the waterfall and onward to the Vietnamese border. The iron structure broke in two at about 11:45 p.m., leading local officials to scramble to find an alternate route across the O’Phly river, said Oeur Chhunnry, deputy director of the provincial public works and transportation department.

“Now, the river cannot be crossed because the truck is still stuck in the middle of the collapsed bridge,” he said on Tuesday.

Mr. Chhunnry’s boss, department director Mau Thonnearak, said the owner of the truck, Thai Phat, who also owns a brick factory in Bosra commune, had been ordered by provincial police to pay for repairs to the bridge.

“The police will act according to the law if he does not pay to repair the bridge,” he said, explaining that Mr. Phat would face arrest if he failed to come up with the money.

Mr. Thonnearak said his department was busy clearing an unused section of road that leads to an old bridge across the river about 300 meters north of the broken one.

Contacted on Tuesday afternoon, Pech Chreada district governor Nguon Saran said the road was about 60 percent clear.

“We are currently fixing the old road to allow temporary travel, and it will be completely ready by tomorrow,” he said.

Kut Chanra, 41, a farmer in Bosra commune, said the work could not be finished soon enough.

“We are now harvesting cassava, and if there is no bridge for us to transport our produce across soon, the price will go down as it gets old,” he said.

“With the bridge collapsed, there will be no more tourists coming to visit, and lots of people will lose money,” he added.

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