Auto linking

Start in October of the highway linking the capital, Sihanoukville

Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said the Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk highway is ready to open as planned in October, with speed limits of 60 to 120 km/h.

Speaking to the media during an inspection of the project on Sept. 21, Chanthol said the highway was 98 percent complete with only minor cosmetic work remaining.

He said the highway will be open to the public without a levy for the month of October, after which a toll system will be put in place.

Chanthol will carry out a road test on the night of September 22 to ensure the

the road is equipped with adequate lighting and reflectors, in particular at the entrance and exit ramps. It would also assess the quality of the road surface.

He said the ministry had set a speed limit of 120 km/h, with a minimum permitted speed of 60 km/h. Slower vehicles will be prohibited from using the highway.

Trucks carrying sea containers will be limited to 80 km/h, while unladen heavy goods vehicles will be allowed to

driving at 100 km/h. Trucks must keep to the right at all times, except when overtaking.

Motorcycles with an engine capacity from 500 cc can take the road. They are limited to 100 km/h and no passengers are allowed.

Chanthol confirmed that the road would be officially opened at a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen in November.

He added that the highway would have 18 police officers on duty 24 hours a day, as well as speed cameras. He asked people to obey traffic laws and signs, and to overtake correctly. Also, he noted that vehicles without a valid inspection are not allowed to use the road.

According to Chanthol, the expressway is being built by Cambodian company PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd based in Phnom Penh – a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – under the supervision of Malaysian company Minconsult Sdn Bhd at a cost of just over $2 billion. The government had spent $150 million to deal with the impacts before construction.

He noted that the road is subject to a concession agreement, after which it would be returned to the Cambodian government.

“We have a 50-year concession contract. The company will maintain the road and return it to us in good condition. They aim to make their investment profitable through the tolls they will charge. According to government estimates, the highway will be profitable in its 11th year of operation,” he said.

He added that the road would not only serve the public interest, but would be a source of tax revenue as soon as it becomes profitable.

“The 10% VAT must be paid to the government. From its 11th year, the company will share its revenue with Cambodia,” he said.

Chanthol was proud of the progress of the project, saying it was completed eight months ahead of schedule. Construction began in March 2019 and was originally due to be completed in May next year. In fact, he said the road was completed in September and would be smoothly launched in October.

Drivers will be charged $12 for a one-way trip on the highway in its first year of operation.

The road connects Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and crosses the provinces of Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong.