About 20 per cent of the expressway connecting Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville has been completed, with the project likely to be finished ahead of schedule, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said.
With a budget of $1.9 billion, the thoroughfare is an ambitious project that will connect the capital with the country’s only deep-sea port. The 190km road is being developed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) through Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd. Malaysian firm Minconsult Sdn Bhd is providing consulting and advisory services.
During a visit to the construction site on Monday, Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Yit Bunna said the project will be finished by September 2022, ahead of the original deadline, which was early 2023.
Bunna said that about 70 per cent of land disputes arising from the construction of the expressway have been resolved. The remaining disputes will be solved by June, he said.
“This road will play a significant role in the development of the local logistics and transportation sector because it connects directly to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port,” he said.
The expressway is part of the government’s plan to turn Sihanoukville into an industrial hub.
Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth said in January that the government aims to transform Sihanoukville into a “second Shenzhen.”
“We are building infrastructure there to make it a more attractive investment destination. We are preparing a master plan for the development of the city modelled after Shenzhen in China.
“We don’t want Sihanoukville to be a ‘casino hub.’ We want it to be an industrial city with thriving technology and tourism sectors,” he said.
In May, the government commissioned the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Shenzhen to draft the master plan for Sihanoukville. The institute is known for having developed the 1991 Shenzhen Master Plan that helped transform the town into an international metropolis.