It may be decades away yet, but if all goes according to plan, the Kingdom will see more than 2,000km of roads joined in an elaborate national freeway system by 2040.
Speaking at a workshop in the capital yesterday, Tram Iv Tek, minister of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, lauded the release of a research report showing the feasibility of a planned freeway system.
“In view of the rapidly developing regional cooperation among GMS [Greater Mekong Subregion] and ASEAN countries and the economic growth of Cambodia in recent years, it is proposed the expressway master plan be prepared so that the expressway will be in service [and on par with] the economic structure of Cambodia in the future,” Iv Tek said in reference to the report, examining the feasibility of the project.
Conducted by Henan Provincial Communication Planning Survey and Design Institute Co Ltd, a Chinese company specialising in highway engineering, the study lays out the early steps for the project.
While the route and measurements of the national freeway system layout is couched in the report as in the “initial stages of planning”, the report stipulates that “the rational scale of [the] Cambodian expressway is determined roughly as [getting up to] 2,200 kilometres by 2040”, and will be modelled on Chinese expressway construction standards.
Initial planning blueprints reveal that if the plan is approved and financing located and pinned down, the new expressways could be formally incorporated into the national highway system.
The report also notes the Cambodian government’s “limited financial resources” are unable “to support the investment of expressway construction” and suggests the government buttress the costs by “adopt[ing] the investment and financing mechanism of a toll charging highway”, along with “bank loans” and “foreign capital”.
Nget Vanna, a project officer at NGO Urban Voice, said he was hopeful but encouraged more study.
“A project like this could improve road safety and decrease traffic accidents in Cambodia, but would require serious study on how it would change the nature of driving [here].”