The Ministry of Public Works and Transport announced it will “secretly inspect” Cambodian roads to ensure their quality meets the Kingdom’s standards.
Pal Chandara, secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said a newly formed working group would inspect the Kingdom’s road network without giving prior notice to contractors.
“The working group will scrutinise construction with modern machinery. Technicians will secretly inspect projects to improve construction and if the group finds they are not up to standard, the ministry will require [the companies] to do whatever it takes to meet them.
“We do not [care for excuses], if a road does not meet standards then companies which signed a contract with the ministry [will be punished]. Companies must be responsible under the law,” he told The Post on Tuesday, stressing the impetus for the inspections is due to the fact that previous road projects were of poor quality.
Minister Sun Chanthol told media on Monday that the ministry had a number of resources, including independent experts, technical inspectors and ministry-sanctioned inspectors at its disposal to ensure that the work is done correctly.
“The group works under me. They don’t need to report to any directorate or secretariat. The group has enough cars and [tools]. I’ve ordered them to begin carrying out inspections immediately.
Large stretches of Cambodian roads are built using the Double Bituminous Surface Treatment (DBST) method.
DBST roads – made by layering asphalt and tarmac together – are often used in developing countries as the cost of construction is lower than the alternative Asphalt Concrete (AC), but can only be used for five years.
AC roads have been used for National Roads No 6, No 1, No 21, No 4 and No 7.
In May, the government announced that it had secured $60 million of interest-free loans from the World Bank to upgrade 218km of National Roads No 3 and No 7 to AC.
Chanthol said that National Roads No 5 and No 3 were currently being upgraded to AC.
“Traffic is heavier than before and Cambodia is starting to convert some [DBST] roads into AC. They will be laid with thick asphalt-concrete tarmac and durable DBST. It isn’t economically responsible to build every road using AC because provincial roads have less traffic,” the minister said.
The executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, Preap Kol, told The Post he believed the inspections should be carried out openly with other parties being allowed to participate in the ministry’s objective.
“We do not need to do something secretly as long as we have skills, technicians, and knowledge of engineering concepts.
“We should inspect construction contracts and then choose locations to their quality,” Kol said.