Following the completion in July of the section stretching from Siem Reap to Kampong Cham province, National Road 6 was officially inaugurated yesterday in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The thoroughfare is now officially in service, after a renovation that has taken 50 months and cost more than $255 million, which was mostly financed with a concessional loan from the Chinese government.

Work on the last section of the road – which spans 200 kilometres and crosses the provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham – finished nearly a year ago.

“Thanks to our Chinese friends we have been able to build our internal road network which will improve people’s lives,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Transport, highlighted the importance of having completed such an ambitious road renovation project.

“This road will facilitate travel and cargo transportation, reducing logistics costs and helping to further integrate Cambodia into the Asean community,” the minister said.

“Simultaneously, this road will play a key role in increasing the number of tourists in the country, particularly in Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and neighbouring provinces like Preah Vihear, which are rich in historical sites and nature.

“In addition to this, people living near the road will gain access to new opportunities for employment and training as tourism investment in the area booms,” he added.

During the launching ceremony yesterday, which was also attended by Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo, Mr Hun Sen said a new study should be conducted to assess the possibility of constructing a bridge across the Tonle Sap Lake to connect the provinces of Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang.

The first feasibility study on the project yielded negative results, pointing to impacts on fish migration patterns and the daily lives of fishermen in the area, the premier said.

He said the project could be reworked taking the Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Corridor as inspiration.

The Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Corridor, colloquially known as the Shenzhen Bay Bridge, is a 5.5-kilometre dual three-lane carriageway that connects Hong Kong to mainland China.

The cost of building a road and a bridge to connect Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom province across the Tonle Sap Lake is estimated at more than $100 million.