For the third time in as many months, the government has canceled a contract with a private company operating a toll road in response to complaints from motorists.
In an order dated Saturday and signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the government announced it was canceling a September 2008 contract with the ICB Corporation to repair the 5 km road 123—previously named road 121—in Takeo province in exchange for giving ICB the right to collect tolls.
The statement says the duty of repairs will now be handed over to the ministries of finance and transport.
International Camrocks and Block has long run a quarry in Takeo’s Bati district and, after two years of protests over the poor condition of the road, agreed in 2008 to pave it in exchange for the right to collect tolls. As late as 2014, protests continued as neither the improved road nor toll system had been established.
Officials from the company could not be contacted on Sunday, but a ruling party spokesman said the contract was canceled for the sake of the people.
“Samdech Prime Minister canceled the contract because people requested not to be charged money for traveling the road,” said CPP spokesman Sok Eysan. “He wanted to improve the people’s living standard.”
In December, Mr. Hun Sen announced the end of tolls on Veng Sreng Boulevard, which had recently been upgraded for $10.5 million, saying he wanted to give back to the garment workers who traveled the road. Weeks later, he announced tolls would be scrapped along the entirety of National Road 4.
(Additional reporting by Colin Meyn)