The government will begin construction in 2011 on a more than $30 million project to pave sections of national roads 31 and 33 in Kampot province, part of a planned coastal corridor connecting Vietnam and Thailand through Cambodia, officials said yesterday.
“We expect to start the civil work in the next dry season of 2011,” said Kim Borey, director general for the public works department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, referring to the 105 km section of the two roads that are slated for an overhaul.
“It will bring more tourists to Cambodia,” he said of the road improvements, which will be funded by a loan from South Korea.
The government is in the final stages of negotiating a $2.65 million contract with South Korea’s state-run Korea Expressway for technical assistance on the project, according to Suon Rachana, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.
“We were supposed to sign the contract with the Korea company last Friday, but it has been delayed because we need more technical discussion,” he said.
Both of the soon-to-be-paved sections of road connect to National Road 3, which goes from Phnom Penh to the coast.
The Asian Development Bank is funding a separate adjacent 17-km section of National Road 33 that connects to the Vietnam border, as well as two border checkpoints in Koh Kong on the Thai border, and Kampot provinces on the border with Vietnam, which will cost about $13 million, according to ADB spokesman Kim Chantha.
“Now we are preparing documents for bidding,” he said. “We expect to start physical work in mid- 2010.”
That project is funded by the ADB, Australia and the Cambodian government, according to Fiona Cochaud, first secretary at the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh. The improved ease of travel will boost trade between Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, she wrote in an e-mail.
“The southern coastal corridor project is one of 10 high priority sub-regional road projects which will facilitate cross border trade and support economic development in the greater Mekong region,” Ms Cochaud wrote.
(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)