Chroy Changvar Bridge
The Chroy Changvar Bridge was constructed in 1966. This is also known as the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge, and for its first seven years, it was an integral part of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh. During the war in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge mined the bridge starting in 1973 until they captured the capital in 1975. Soon the tyrannical government forced the vast majority of those who lived there out of the city and the bridge remained unrepaired. It had suffered damage during the conflict, so it was simply damaged and nearly unusable from 1975-1979.
The city was liberated in early 1979, and people began to return to the city. This led to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the bridge and the structures that surrounded it. Only so much of it could be repaired, however, because final issues did not allow the work to continue. In 1995, the Japanese government provided the funds to rebuild the bridge completely, and even provided the engineers to assist in the project.
A Little about the Bridge
The Chroy Changvar Bridge spans the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh. It is 700-meters long and is one of the major trucking routes between the cities of Kompong Cham and Siem Reap. As mentioned, the original bridge took heavy damage to the point of being unusual, which made shipping along National Route 6 quite challenging. During this time it was known as the “Broken Bridge” and, jokingly, after it was repaired by the Japanese it became known as the “Not Broken Anymore Bridge.” It is referred to by many people as the “Japanese Bridge.”
The Japanese had to nearly completely rebuild the bridge. It was well built, but the constant travel of trucks over the bridge has caused it to deteriorate a little faster than many expected. In 2014, work began to repair the bridge and remove cracks that were existing in the pillars and the road. This work was completed prior to 2016 as part of the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s original construction.
There is still a limit on the size of trucks that are allowed to travel on the bridge. During the construction the size was no more than 2.5 tonnes, but has been expanded to heavier vehicles since the construction was completed.
Why Visit the Bridge
Chroy Changvar Bridge is a spectacular site, and is quite beautiful to take a visit to look at. The Japanese engineers did an amazing job in reconstructing the bridge and the architecture and beauty of it are really an enjoyable site.
While the bridge is amazing, there are some aspects to it that really add to the making of it as a great tourist site. The view of the river from the bridge is really spectacular, and makes for a great romantic walk with that special someone.
There are also a great many sites and attraction near the bridge. Access to this bridge makes it so that it is easy to reach these in just a matter of minutes, even if you are walking.