Ministry of Public Works and Transport officials have closed the bidding process on five projects that will restore and reconstruct National Road 4.

Contracts have been signed for three of the projects and they will get underway immediately, while the final two are expected to begin construction in March.

Officials said that at about 230km, the road is the main economic lifeline between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province. The current road is narrow and some sections have been damaged by overloaded trucks and flood damages sustained during the rainy season.

Heng Rathpiseth, head of the ministry’s General Department of Public Works, told The Post on January 31 that the five projects would be funded by the World Bank.

“Due to the different condition of each section of National Road 4, each project has had its budget prepared separately. The ministry and the World Bank, which is providing the investment capital, have divided the work into five packages,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial public works department director Su Sunthara told The Post on January 31 that through the implementation of the National Road 4 expansion project, officials had already measured and repaired parts of the road that pass through the province.

He said some parts of the road had suffered damages from flooding. He hoped the improvement of the national road would result in the reduction of accidents.

Kim Pagna, country director of the the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP), said the rehabilitation and construction of the road is necessary as it links to a major tourist destination and is an important part of the Cambodian economy. The improvements were important for traffic safety as well, he said, adding that he expected that the project would construct two lanes in each direction, to reduce congestion and traffic accidents.

“The government is paying attention to traffic safety, but I would like to focus even more attention on it by adding signage to the road. If possible, it would be nice to equip it with cameras and flyovers, as has been done with National Road 3. Naturally, these options are budget dependent,” he said.

Pagna suggested that the National Road 4 projects begin after the completion of the expressway, because during the construction there could be blockages to both arterial routes which would lead to traffic jams and frustration.