Cambodia needs $9 billion to be invested into 850 kilometres of roadways by 2020, according to a study by Henan Provincial Communications Planning Survey and Design Institute.
From the Chinese province of Henan, officials from the state-owned engineering institute went to great lengths yesterday to explain that scientific analysis was behind their Cambodia Expressway Development Master Plan, a report delivered to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Phnom Penh.
“To build and improve a modern transport network, covering the whole nation, connecting every province and city, SEZs, resource-exploitation areas, tourist regions, essential ports, docks, airports and other areas, at first there shall be a scientific development and a reasonable plan,” said Li Qiang, chief engineer at the Henan Provincial Communications Planning Survey and Design Institute.
The study went beyond the 2020 deadline to reveal that by 2040, Cambodia would need 2,230 kilometres of roads costing up to $26 billion, including a ring road around Phnom Penh and six expressways connecting provinces. And though much emphasis was put on the scientific methods used to arrive at the infrastructure requirements, no data were presented to support the plan.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony to receive the expressway report, Minister of Public Works and Transportation Tram Iv Tek said there was no funding in place to fulfil the entire proposed plan, but the government was looking to partner with the private sector to help support it’s future road infrastructure needs.
“It is the right time to begin considering this [expressway project],” he said. “We need to start thinking from now to prepare for the master plan so that we know what we should do first and after,” he said.
Iv Tek added that two highway projects had already received funding: one connecting Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville province with funding from a Chinese company, and the other an expressway that would connect Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City with funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Iv Tek declined to give any further details on the company investing or building the road linking the capital to Sihanoukville.
JICA announced its plans for a $2.2 billion Phnom Penh-to-Bavet town toll road last month. A feasibility study is to begin next year with the Phnom Penh to Neak Loeung section expected be open in the early 2020s. The entire highway is expected to be completed in 2030.
Egami Masahiko, JICA’s representative, told the Post yesterday that the road would help support Cambodia’s shift to high-value industries such as auto parts and electronics which require stable transportation.
“Many Asian countries started development of expressway when their GDP per capita were less than $500. Cambodia now is $1,000 and it is time to start development of an expressway network,” he said.