China-backed expressway in Cambodia opens for free trial

THE Chinese-invested Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway in Cambodia is now open to the public for a month’s trial use for free to attract motorists driving on the first-ever expressway in the South-East Asian nation.

Invested by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, the US$2bil (RM9.2bil) expressway with a total length of 187km connects the capital Phnom Penh and the deep sea port province of Preah Sihanouk.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) Secretary of State Yit Bunna said the expressway project had been fully completed recently after more than three years of construction and put on a trial operation free of charge from yesterday to Oct 31.

“We urge all drivers to comply with the speed limits for your own safety and the safety of the others,” he said at an event marking the inauguration of the highway for trial use yesterday.

“We wish all passengers a safe travel on this expressway.”

Sun Yaoguo, a representative of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway project, said the freeway was the fruit of cooperation between China and Cambodia under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“The trial operation of this expressway shows that Cambodia has now entered the age of the expressway,” he said.

According to the MPWT, the expressway can only be used by motorcycles that have a power of 500cc or more, and cars that can drive at a speed of 70kph or more.

The minimum speed to use this toll road is 60kph and the maximum speed limit is 120kph for regular family cars, 100kph for heavy vehicles without trailers and motorcycles, and 80kph for trucks and cars with trailers.With two lanes for traffic in each direction plus an emergency lane on each side and paved with asphalt concrete, vehicles will be able to reach their destination in about two hours on the expressway, instead of five hours on National Road 4.

Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s Undersecretary of State Penn Sovicheat said the expressway is crucial to helping boost economic growth, saving travel time and reducing logistics costs.

Chea Chandara, president of the Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia, said the expressway will inject a new impetus into the country’s economic development as it links Phnom Penh and the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. — Xinhua

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