The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk expressway is set to finish before deadline, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The ministry’s announcement yesterday said that so far the construction of the Kingdom’s first expressway is 20.65 percent complete while 88.84 percent of people directly affected have allowed the road to cross their land.
Construction of the expressway started in March 2019 with an initial plan to finish by 2023.
Vasim Sorya, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said that the Coronavirus pandemic has not stopped construction even though it has caused delays of some essential equipment and materials.
Work has been so fast because the workers did not return to China during COVID-19, he said.
Sorya refused to comment on compensation for land owners, saying that the working group is addressing the issue.
Built by state-owned China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) through its subsidiary Cambodia PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the 190 kilometre high-speed highway linking the capital to the coastal Preah Sihanouk province is estimated to cost roughly $1.9 billion. It is 24.5 metres wide.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who presided over the project’s ground-breaking ceremony last year, said the Kingdom required further financial support to build infrastructure to accommodate its growing economy.
He said, with its continued financial assistance, China is one of Cambodia’s main development partners, contributing greatly to economic growth and poverty reduction.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said that settlement for the affected families in the province is not finished because some landowners are demanding higher compensation.
According to Samnang, more than 3,000 families in total in the province have been affected by the project with 60 families left to agree a deal.
“However, we expect a solution will be found soon because we are trying hard to address the issue,” said Samnang.
The expressway will be more time-efficient and faster than existing routes, serving the modern industrialisation of the country and facilitating international heavy transport activities.
The new highway will be around 50 km shorter than the 240 km National Road 4.