Feasibility Study On New Expressway Completed

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A feasibility study on the construction of the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, which will cost about $3.8 billion and play a key role towards connectivity with Vietnam, has been completed.

Renovations on Phnom Penh’s Cambodia-Japanese Friendship Bridge were funded by JICA. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The study was conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the project involves the construction of a 160-kilometre stretch of road connecting Phnom Penh to Bavet in Svay Rieng province, which will be linked to an expressway from the border gate at Moc Bai, on the Vietnamese side, to Ho Chi Minh city.

Speaking during the official launch of the second phase of Phnom Penh Autonomous Port’s container terminal, Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said the Cambodian government authorised JICA to conduct the feasibility study, which revealed that the project will cost about $3.8 billion.

He noted that this amount is higher than the cost of the $2-billion expressway connecting Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province, which involves a longer stretch.

Mr Chanthol said the reason that the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway will cost more is because it involves crossing 80 km of areas full of lakes and prone to flooding.

“In comparison, the construction of the expressway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk, which is 190 km long, is estimated to cost around $2 billion, but the road does not have to be built across a lake or flood-prone areas,” he said.

Mr Chanthol added that due to its bigger construction cost, the government has not decided whether or not to build the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, and said it is looking into opening bids for private sector participation on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

JICA could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The construction of the Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk Expressway has already been awarded to a Chinese state-owned firm, Chinese Communication Construction Company Ltd, which is expected to begin work later this month or early next year.

According to Cambodia’s expressway master plan, by 2020 the country needs 850 kilometres of expressways which could cost as much as $9 billion. To construct 2,230 kilometres of expressway by the year 2040, Cambodia needs an investment capital of at least $26 billion.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.