The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya.
The first expressway in Cambodia will boast a total length of more than 190km and stretch from Samrong Krom commune in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district to Sihanoukville’s Commune III.
Construction of the road began on March 22, last year, led by Chinese-based China Road and Bridge Corporation through Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd.
Sorya told The Post on November 16 that the construction of the expressway had now reached 26.86 per cent completion. He said ministry officials always work with construction companies to complete construction as planned.
“According to the graphics, the construction process on this road is in line with the scheduled plan, and can be completed in the first half of 2022,” he said.
He added the expressway will greatly contribute to the growth of the Cambodian economy by reducing the travel time from Phnom Penh to the deep-sea international port.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said land had been filled to create a level surface for the around 80km of expressway running through his province.
He said the landfilling and drainage projects were completed but the flyover bridges across National Road 4 are not.
He said the road will be an important strategic expressway to boost economic growth.
Samnang said the construction of the new road also affected some private land, but those impacts have been resolved step by step.
“For the construction of the 80km road through Kampong Speu, I see that the process is going smoothly. Currently, there are only five to six families left to deal with the construction impact,” he said.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy previously told The Post that once the expressway is finished, it will make a significant contribution to the transport sector.
“Even though driving on the freeway costs money, if we compare that with the current narrow road . . . we see that the cost of fuel is less and takes less time,” he said.
He added that this road will play an important role in transporting goods from Phnom Penh to Cambodia’s deep-sea port.
Chanthy said transporting goods by container truck between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville – a distance of 232km – currently takes between six and eight hours.
He said the private sector wants better road infrastructure because when there are good roads, it will trim production costs and sharpen the Kingdom’s competitive edge.