Overseas Cambodian Investment Corp (OCIC), the owner of the new Phnom Penh international airport project, has announced that it will begin construction of a 21.5km flyover next year from the city centre to the airport at an estimated cost of $400 million.

But government officials have said they have not yet received the company’s plans for the project.

“We will construct as a flyover that is unlike the highway to Kampong Som,” OCIC board chairman Pung Kheav Se recently told the Construction & Property magazine, referring to the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway.

Construction will be divided into two phases, with the more-than-10km-long Phase I linking Yothapol Khemarak Phoumin Boulevard (Street 271) to National Road 2 and the 11km-long Phase II connecting National Road 2 to the project in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, he said.

“Construction of the first phase will begin in 2021 and is scheduled to be completed after the new airport [2023], depending on the capital investment,” Kheav Se said.

The project arose from the need of a new thoroughfare to relieve the perceived congestion the new airport would bring, which he said existing roads were not equipped to handle.

“Once the flyover is completed, the journey from Street 271 to [the new airport] will take about 15 minutes,” Kheav Se said.

State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post on December 30 that he had not received official documents from OCIC regarding the project.

Noting that the SSCA is only responsible for development of the upcoming airport, he said he knew of the flyover project, but was unaware of any specific timeframe or costs.

“I heard of it during a consultative meeting with the company regarding the construction of the airport.

“The company said expressways from Phnom Penh to the airport would be built, as well as other secondary roads connecting to the [capital’s third] ring road,” Chansereyvutha said, stressing the importance of thoroughfares for passenger and goods movement.

Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya lauded the project but said he was awaiting further details. “I’ve seen the news on some media outlets, but information from the construction company is not yet available.”

The new airport will be a 4F class airport, occupying 2,600ha in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district (and slightly protruding into Takeo province’s northernmost Bati district).

Phase I is scheduled to be completed by 2023 and will cost an estimated $1.5 billion to build.

Of that, $1.1 billion will come from loans from overseas banking institutions, while $280 million will be contributed by the OCIC.

It is unclear where the remaining $120 million – which will be used as registration capital – will come from.

OCIC will be responsible for 90 per cent of the project, while the remaining 10 per cent belongs to SSCA, Council of Ministers secretary of state in charge of civil aviation Tek Reth Samrach said in 2017.