Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway on track to be completed well ahead of schedule

Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said the construction of the Chinese-invested Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has gone full steam ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected to be completed ahead of schedule.

Invested in by China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC), the $2 billion expressway will connect the capital city of Phnom Penh and the deep-sea port province of Preah Sihanouk in the country’s southwest.

The construction of the expressway began in March 2019 and was slated to be complete in March 2023. It is now believed that the project will be finished by September of 2022, according to Chanthol via a live broadcast streamed on the ministry’s official Facebook page.

“So far, about 55 percent of the construction has been completed,” he told reporters during a visit to a stretch of the road in Kampong Speu province.

At a width of 24.5 metres with two lanes on either side, vehicles can travel at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour, reducing travel time between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk to two hours from the present five hours, he added.

The minister noted the road will play a very important role in helping boost Cambodia’s economic growth because it links the capital city to the largest seaport in the Kingdom.

The minister also said that work on the project continued to make headway steadily thanks to the joint effort of the Chinese and Cambodian workers, despite the ongoing challenge of the pandemic.

He pointed out as well that the project has created more than 3,000 jobs for Cambodians with about 66 percent of those workers having been fully vaccinated.

“This project is very beneficial to our Cambodian workers because it provides them with technical know-how on the construction of an expressway and we hope that after the project, they will be able to use their knowledge to help build other expressways in Cambodia,” he said.

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

Nin Saphon, chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Commission on Public Works, Industry, Mines, Energy, Commerce and Land Management, praised the CRBC for constructing the road in full compliance with technical standards.

“The firm’s construction technique is very professional,” she said during the visit. “This expressway is another testament to the unbreakable ironclad friendship between Cambodia and China.”

The 187.05 kilometre Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is built on a build-operate-transfer basis. After completion, it will be the first expressway in Cambodia.