A project to upgrade and repair three road sections totalling nearly 100km in Kratie province broke ground on April 4. The $40 million project is scheduled to be completed in 18 months with a concessional loan from the World Bank.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and World Bank country manager Maryam Salim.

Chanthol said the upgrades and repairs are being carried out in response to previous flood damage.

“The roads that have been targeted are important economic routes, and are at risk of further flooding every rainy season. These improvements will eliminate that risk,” he said.

They include provincial roads 377 and 377A, which link Kratie town to the Prek Kampi eco-tourism area and the historical site of the renowned 100-Pillar Pagoda. The two provincial roads link with National Road 73 to join Stung treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces.

“They connect with the national road networks to the capital and northeastern provinces and to the urban areas, economic zones and border areas of Cambodia,” said Chanthol.

Sam An praised the public works ministry for its efforts to develop road and bridge infrastructure in line with the government’s Rectangular Strategy.

“Our current rate of development progress will see us classified as a high middle income country by 2030 and a high income country by 2050,” she said.

She also thanked the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the World Bank for accelerating preparations for the project.

“I ask the construction companies to pay close attention to these projects, as they are of the utmost importance for national development. They should also be wary of any discharge into the Mekong River, as this is the home of one of the Kingdom’s greatest natural treasures – the Irrawaddy dolphin,” she said.

National Road 73 will be upgraded from the intersection of Srolob commune’s Preah Theat village of Tbong Khmum district to the Kampong Raing bridge in Dombae district’s Seda commune, on the border of Kratie province. The section is 49.81km in length, and will be four lanes wide.

The sections of provincial roads 377 and 377A that will be upgraded are 35km and 13.6km long respectively. In addition, nine new bridges will be constructed on road 377.

All three roads will be upgraded with 20cm thick asphalt concrete.

National Road 73 will be the responsibility of Nimmeng-Proco Joint Venture, while provincial roads 377 and 377A will be constructed by Poly Changda Engineering Co Ltd.

The three roads are scheduled to be completed in 18 months. The total cost of $40 million includes demining operations.