Cambodian expressway funded under Belt and Road over 70% completed

The expressway is one of the Cambodia-China cooperation projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Nearly 71 percent of the construction work on the Chinese-invested Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville Expressway has been completed despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) said in a news release on 12 December 2021.

Road Traffic Technology reports that the 190km-long Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway will be the largest roadway in Cambodia when operational in 2023. The new expressway will act as an efficient link between the capital city Phnom Penh and the coastal city Sihanoukville.

Being developed as part of China’s belt and road initiative, the expressway is considered to be one of the key projects to strengthen the existing ties between China and Cambodia.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was selected by the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) for the construction of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway.

Construction of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway was initiated with the ground-breaking ceremony held in March 2019. The expressway is expected to be opened for traffic by March 2023.

The new expressway will enhance the reliability, safety and mobility of the Cambodian road network and allow the movement of a large number of vehicles, and will link the two economic poles of the country, namely Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. It will improve logistical efficiency of Cambodia and significantly reduce the travel time between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville from the current five hours on the existing National Road 4 by 50%.

The expressway will connect the national capital Phnom Penh to the province of Preah Sihanouk known for its deep-sea port in south-western Cambodia

The Cambodian Ministry MPWT’s secretary of state Yit Bunna visited the construction site in southwestern Kampong Speu province on Friday to track the project’s progress.

The project is funded by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the governments of Cambodia and China, and is estimated to cost nearly 2 billion U.S. dollar , it said.

“It is the first-ever expressway project in Cambodia and is the most important strategic route in the kingdom, reducing travel time between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province’s sea port from five hours to two hours and also saving transportation cost,” the MPWT added.

Nin Saphon, chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Commission on Public Works, Industry, Mines, Energy, Commerce, and Land Management, said in June during a visit to the project that the expressway was another testament to the unbreakable ironclad friendship between Cambodia and China.

Hu Zhaoguang, general manager of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway project, said that the project uses environment-friendly technologies, aiming to build a “green expressway” for sustainable development.

Road Traffic Technology, 13 Dec 2021.
Xinhua, 12 Dec 2021.