Renovations on the 135.25km stretch of National Road 5 from Prek Kdam in Kandal province to Thlea Ma'am in Pursat province are 80 per cent complete, and expected to be finished at the end of next year, according to the public works ministry.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport revealed this in a press release issued in conjunction with an inspection of a number of the project’s construction sites on June 23.

The inspection was led by public works minister Sun Chanthol, in the company of ministry officials, local authorities and representatives of the construction and technical consulting firms.

The renovations began on May 2018, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and were initially expected to be completed in 48 months. Technical inspections are conducted under a joint venture agreement between Japanese firms Katahira & Engineer International and Oriental Consultant Global.

The project is expected to cost $246.45 million, and comprises the southern section of the broader National Road 5 Rehabilitation Project that covers 366km of the thoroughfare, in Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

The overall project is financed under a $500 million loan from Japan and is divided the northern, central and southern sections.

The 304km of standard road will be paved with asphalt concrete and widened to 23m, with two lanes in either direction and medians containing trees and other vegetation. The remaining 62km comprises detours and bridges.

Chanthol called on residents near the national road to prevent excessive runoff water on the road from homes, to avoid damage. He also discouraged commercial activity along the road, to keep from blocking traffic, and suggested a ban on overloaded trucks.