Chinese constructor builds “bridge of hope” in Cambodia

(Zhao Yipu/People’s Daily)

A “bridge of hope” is being built in Cambodia by Chinese firm Shanghai Construction Group under China’s concessional loan.

The bridge, connecting Kampong Cham province and Tbong Khmum province of Cambodia across the Mekong River, will greatly shorten the commuting time between the north central and eastern regions of the country, and that is why it is called a “bridge of hope” by locals.

Reports confirm that there are currently only two bridges between Stung Treng province and Tboung Knmum province. People living far from these two bridges are left with no option but to take devious routes or ferry boats to cross the river.

The one under construction between the two existing bridges is of great significance for the transportation and economic development of Cambodia’s north central region.

The 1.1-km bridge is now under construction along with an 8.3-km connecting road by Shanghai Construction Group. Since 2004, the company has helped Cambodia build 1,758 kilometers of roads and six bridges stretching for 6,779 meters in total.

The Cambodian government and people are full of expectations regarding the bridge, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, said Zhang Huaming, executive manager of the project.

“This bridge is the hardest one to build though it is only 1,131 meters long. It is more demanding for us to set pilings here as this place has complex hydrological and geographical conditions, an unstable riverbed and thick layers of sand. Our efforts would all be in vain if one single piling went wrong,” said Hua Chunfang, a project manager with 13-years working experience in Cambodia.

“Now, the Chinese project and hard-working Chinese staff are enjoying high reputation among the Cambodian people. Such kinds of compliments were based on the fact that we made a lot of personal sacrifices,” added Hua who stayed at the construction site for 12 Spring Festivals, China’s most important family reunion holiday.

The positive working attitude of the Chinese has also pepped up Cambodia workers. “I have learned a lot from Chinese technicians who are very strict with the project quality. We have to make sure all test data are accurate,” said Takole, a Cambodian lab staff.

“Chinese technicians are sincere in helping us to build our home. I am proud of having such colleagues,” Takole added.

China’s help for Cambodia in infrastructure construction has not only improved local people’s lives but also promoted the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is estimated that Cambodia’s construction industry will achieve a 14-percent growth in 2019, according to studies.

“China’s help could really be of use to Cambodia. We all could see the tangible results,” said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister, when inspecting the bridge project.

Prak Sokhonn, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that Cambodia-China friendship and cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative would surely deliver fruitful results for social and economic development in both countries and make contributions to building a prosperous and harmonious community for a shared future.