The drainage system beneath Angkor Wat temple’s ancient bridge has been fixed, the Apsara National Authority said yesterday, with the rest of the revamping still underway and expected to conclude in the next two years.
The maintenance of the bridge drains was done to prevent any instance of erosion damage beneath the structure after water was found trapped within the pipes.
In a statement released by the ANA, it said the clogging of the drain pipes were due to the presence of plastic and soil inside.
“To carry out the maintenance work, technicians had to use a pipe inspection camera, which is a kind of a cable camera device, to see what’s causing the congestion,” the statement said.
Despite the good news, ANA spokesman Long Kosal said several tasks remain to be done to ensure that the bridge is fully restored before it can be utilised by tourists.
According to the ANA, the floating bridge is 170 metres long and eight metres wide, uses 6,720 airbags, and has the capacity of supporting 1,360 people standing on the bridge at the same time.
In 2017, the ANA started the restoration of the bridge. The following year, the bridge was temporarily reopened to accommodate tourists during the Khmer New Year holidays.
Asked if the same will be done this year in anticipation of the upcoming holidays, Kosal said it is highly unlikely as major repairs still need to be made on the bridge. However, he said the ANA has already cleaned up the temples to ensure the health and safety of tourists.
In light of the pandemic, Kosal appealed to visitors to maintain social distancing and practise good hygiene in adherence to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
“We may be unable to conduct temperature checks and install handwashing stations at the entrances of the temple as many people are expected to visit. Nevertheless, I urge the visitors to observe virus prevention measures and practices while visiting the temple,” he said.
At present, visitors to Angkor Wat are using a temporary floating bridge to cross to the temple.