The Kampong Cham governor yesterday ordered local authorities to repair part of the Bamboo Bridge that leads to Koh Pen island after rising water flooded and damaged a 100-metre stretch of the crossing.
Provincial Governor Kuoch Chamroeun yesterday inspected the bridge and said that due to rising waters in the Mekong river, parts of it were flooded and damaged.
Mr Chamroeun said that the iconic bridge must be quickly repaired because it is a tourist hotspot.
“It was damaged by floods, but only about 100 metres of it were hit,” he said. “It must be repaired soon so that tourists can cross as usual to visit Koh Pen.”
Mr Chamroeun noted that the rising waters are expected to recede by next week and that authorities have been tasked with repairing the crossing at that time.
He added that Chinese New Year is nearing and the province is expecting an influx of tourists.
Ven Neang, Koh Mit commune chief, said the iconic bridge is now only used by tourists, and not locals or transportation companies, since the province got a new bridge in early 2018.
“Right now, parts of it are damaged so nobody is permitted to use it,” he said. “We are afraid it is too dangerous and must repair it first.”
Sem Vanna, 43, a resident living in Koh Mit commune, said that rising waters affect the bridge every year.
“But it does not affect our work because we use the new bridge,” she said. “However, the Bamboo Bridge is very popular for tourists.”
During the dry season, largely from November to June, the almost one-kilometre long bamboo bridge is constructed annually, making it quite possibly the world’s longest bamboo bridge.
It costs between $50,000 and $60,000 to build each year. Open 24-hours, between 500 to 1,000 people cross each day.
The bridge dates back at least 50 years, paused only under the Khmer Rouge.