Sand Boat Slams into Chroy Changva Bridge

Traffic has been temporarily suspended from Chroy Changvar steel bridge after a sand dredging boat crashed into one of its pillars, causing damage
A sand pumping boat crashed into Chroy Changva steel bridge. Kiripost/Seng Mengheng
A sand pumping boat crashed into Chroy Changva steel bridge. Kiripost/Seng Mengheng

A sand pumping boat crashed into Chroy Changva steel bridge, temporarily halting traffic after it caused damage to the bridge’s pillars.

In order to prevent any accidents, Phnom Penh Capital Administration has temporarily prevented traffic from crossing the steel Chroy Changva steel bridge, which spans the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh and links Chroy Changvar peninsula with National Road 5.

Phnom Penh Capital Administration stopped traffic from crossing the bridge on the afternoon of November 20 after the accident, which saw the boat collide into the bridge’s pillars.

A sand pumping boat crashed into Chroy Changva steel bridge. Kiripost/Seng Mengheng
A sand pumping boat crashed into Chroy Changva steel bridge. Kiripost/Seng Mengheng

So Chanthy, a sugarcane vendor near the bridge, said, “A sand boat hit the bridge at around 2.30pm. I heard that several bridge pillars were damaged, but I’m unsure of the exact number because the bridge was blocked and impassable.”

Authorities were unable to ascertain how many bridge pillars were damaged by the sand boat, according to authorities manning the bridge.

“We have no idea why this collision occurred; perhaps the strong water flow turned, causing the boat to hit [the bridge],” Chanthy added.

Authorities are currently waiting for an impact inspection to be conducted to assess the damage and necessary repairs.

“[We have] now closed [the bridge] on a temporary basis. It is not yet known how long it will be closed due to us waiting for an expert evaluation. According to assessments, the latter case does not appear to be serious, but may shortly restart,” said Sam Piseth, Director of the Department of Public Works and Transport.​

Pech Pisey, Director of Transparency International, said sand dredging and delivering sand on waterways has an impact on communities and the river ecosystem. He added that dredging is causing landslides and other issues for people living along riverbanks.

As a result, the Ministry should begin assessing and controlling the current licensing, security, and risk management standards, he said.

He added that people misunderstand the Ministry because they do not know which firm has the authority to pump sand or which pumping method to apply because they lack sufficient knowledge about the amount of dredging in rivers, lakes, and rivers, and how it is controlled.

Pisey said in addition, the dredging license's transparency and accountability are not made public. “We hope that the Ministry will educate the populace about the value of dredging and the money it will bring in,” he said.