Wilbur Smith Associates, a US transportation consultant firm hired by the Asian Development Bank, on Tuesday presented a system outlining the steps Cambodia should take to devise a practical, economical, forward-thinking system to maintain the country’s roadways.
“We had no information about how to start road maintenance up until now,” said Chhin Kong Head, director general of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. “We asked the ADB to give us some sort of technical assistance.”
Until now, Cambodia has mainly focused on emergency road repairs rather than plans for upkeep.
Wilbur Smith Associates has completed four months of its eight-month contract in Cambodia. The firm showed workshop attendees at the Sunway Hotel Tuesday how they can calculate formulas to show how much money they need each year to maintain roads, based on the type of road, the frequency of its maintenance needs and the labor cost.
They used Kandal province as an example and produced a report showing exactly how they would go about maintaining roads there.
“This mechanism is used to get funding,” said Gerald Schott, team leader for Wilbur Smith Associates. “At this point we think that the money should come first from the international community.”
Chhin Kong Head agreed that using this model would help attract money from donors.
He said his department has another consultancy firm devising a plan for how Cambodia can raise its own money for roadwork by levying taxes on road use, taxis and gasoline.
The workshops were also attended by Ministry of Public Works and Transport bureau chiefs from each province and representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Rural Development, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JICA and USAID.