While Bavet City has long been known as a thoroughfare for tourists crossing into Vietnam, as well for its ample amount of casinos and hotels, recent infrastructure projects aim to develop the city into a more viable hub for transportation and logistics.
Currently, a four kilometer strip of National Road 1 is planning to be expanded to ease the flow of commerce.
Sok Chenda Sophea, delegation minister and secretary of state of Cambodia Development Council, said that the road will serve increased levels of transportation and that this expansion falls in line with the government’s economic development policy.
“The government is cooperating with Asia Development Bank to make Bavet City prosperous and build a clear infrastructure for parking and transporting goods in the area,” he said.
“Bavet was a rice field 25 years ago, but now casinos and special economic zones have opened up. There are Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese factories, and so on, but the city’s infrastructure does not meet the quality, so we have to consider the area’s sustainable development. We have to invest in the infrastructure in the area,” he said.
Chhim Phalla, director of the Ministry of Public Work’s Department of International Cooperation in charge of the National Road 1 expansion plan, said that as of now, the expansion is confined to only four kilometers of road. The road will be turned from two-lanes to four-lanes and is slated to be completed by the end of 2016.
National road 1, a 125 kilometers stretch of tar that runs from Phnom Penh to Bavet City, has seen many improvements recently. The Tsubasa Bridge, the longest cable bridge in Cambodia, opened up earlier this year.
According to Sophea, these developments are in line with developing the GMS Southern Economic Corridor into a major ASEAN highway that links Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok through Phnom Penh.
While land prices along the National Road 1 have been steadily rising on the back of each planned infrastructure project, Kim Heang, president of Khmer Real Estate, said that an announcement of a four kilometer expansion will have little effect.
“The Bavet city expansion is not important, but what is important is when further expansion along National Road 1 actually happens,” said Heang.
Looking closer to Phnom Penh, he noted that land prices have been steadily rising due to increased infrastructure along the highway. According to his company’s research land around Peng Hout, an area with increased borey development, ranges from $1000 to $1500 per square metre. From Peng Hout to Tiger Beer Factory prices are between $300 to $500, and from there to the Tsubasa Bridge, they fall to $30 to $50 per square meter.
However, Noun Rithy, director of Khmer Foundation Appraisals, said that the expansion is on the right track in Bavet, and that it can raise land prices, bolster the economy and increase the flow of goods.
“I really appreciate that the government is promoting the area and such developments will help invigorate the land prices when it has amenities, and the infrastructure has been improved,” he said.