Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said the Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk Expressway is ready to open as planned in October, with speed limits from 60-120kph.

Speaking to the media during a September 21 inspection of the project, Chanthol said the expressway was 98 per cent complete, with only minor cosmetic work remaining.

He said the expressway would be open to the public with no levies for the month of October, after which a toll system will be implemented.

Chanthol will conduct a test drive on the night of September 22 to ensure the road is equipped with adequate lighting and reflectors, especially at the entry and exit ramps. He would also assess the quality of the surface of the road.

He said the ministry has set a speed limit of 120kph, with a minimum permitted speed of 60kph. Slower vehicles will be banned from using the expressway.

Trucks carrying shipping containers will be limited to 80kph, while unladen heavy vehicles will be permitted to travel at 100kph. Trucks must keep to the right at all times, unless overtaking.

Motorcycles with a cylinder capacity from 500cc up may use the road. They are limited to 100kph, and no passengers are permitted.

Chanthol confirmed that the road would be officially inaugurated in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen in November.

He added that the expressway would have 18 police officers on duty around the clock, as well as speed cameras. He asked people to respect the traffic laws and signage, and overtake correctly. In addition, he noted that vehicles without valid vehicle inspections are not allowed to use the road.

According to Chanthol, the expressway is constructed by Phnom Penh-based Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd – a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – with supervision by Malaysian firm Minconsult Sdn Bhd at a cost of just over $2 billion. The government had spent $150 million to address the impacts prior to constrution.

He noted that the road is subject to concession agreement, after which it would be returned to the Cambodian government.

“We have a 50-year concession agreement. The company will maintain the road, and return it to us in good order. They aim to recoup their investment by means of the tolls that they will charge. According to government estimates, the expressway will be profitable from its 11th year of operation,” he said.

He added that the road would not only serve the public interest, but would be a source of tax revenue as soon as it became profitable.

“VAT of 10 per cent must be paid to the government. From its 11th year onward, the company will share its revenue with Cambodia,” he said.

Chanthol was proud of the progress of the project, saying it had been completed eight months ahead of schedule. Construction began in March 2019, and was originally scheduled for completion in May next year. In fact, he said the road was completed in September and would be soft-launched in October.

Drivers will be charged $12 for a one-way trip on the expressway in its first year of operation.

The road connects Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and passes through Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces.