The extension of National Road 5, which links Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey Province in the border with Thailand, is part of a larger, Asean-wide project to connect the kingdom with Thailand, Myanmar, and, ultimately, China, the Minister of Transport said on Wednesday.
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Plans to improve the road are set to enter phase two, which aims to widen the highway from two to four lanes in the section running from Prek Kdam, in Kandal Province, to Pursat, with construction work beginning in May.
The revamped section will be 23 meters wide and stretch for 400 kilometres.
“In the future, National Road 5 will be an important road for the region, linking us to Thailand, Myanmar and even China in the north, while connecting to National Road 4 all the way to Sihanoukville’s port, and to National Road 1 all the way to Vietnam,” Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said.
The government has opened the bidding process for the last phase of the road-improvement project, which covers the section from Pursat to Battambang and from Serey Sophorn to Poipet.
Construction work for the first stage of the project, from Battambang Province to Serey Sophorn District, started in March.
“National Road 5 will become the first highway that connects different Asean countries and a key element of the East-West Economic Corridor when it comes to trade, tourism, logistics and investment,” the minister said.
Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, said projects like the improvement of National Road 5 are key to boost the transportation and logistics sector in the kingdom.
“It will help us reduce our costs, and make us more competitive,” he said.
Mey Kalyan, senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council, said the revamped road will help attract more investment.
“An expanded and improved National Road 5 that links up with National Road 1 is great news for the country, as it will help us attract more investors to Cambodia,” he said.
The government is planning two new expressways. The first one will connect Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and will cost an estimated $1.9 billion. The second, connecting Phnom Penh to the border with Vietnam, is now being reviewed by Japan International Cooperation Agency.