2021 build rate slower because of pandemic

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Public works minister Sun Chanthol leads his officials to inspect the construction of National Road 21B in Kandal province. MPWT

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said the infrastructure construction plan established by the ministry in 2020 for implementation in 2021 is now 80 per cent complete.

“We have not completed 100 per cent of the work target set out in 2020 because there were a lot of activities. If we summarise our working outcome for what we have done and what is still ongoing, we’re at about 80 per cent.

“The other 20 per cent didn’t get started or finished because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Chanthol said on January 27 in his opening remarks at a conference to review the results of the ministry’s work in 2021 and to begin planning for 2022.

However, he said that despite the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, the public transport and logistics sector continued to carry out large-scale activities and projects using both the national budget and assistance from development partners without many project suspensions or delays overall.

For 2022, the minister advised his subordinates to continue to work on improvements in the quality of roads and continue to train human resources to be able to work effectively to build, repair and maintain the roads through use of modern technology to avoid repeated or redundant work.

He also urged them to try to provide good service to the public at the weighing stations used to detect overloaded vehicles and at the other technical vehicle inspection locations.

He said the focus should also be on the management of the quality of roads and bridges using modern technology and construction techniques with high standards for all remaining ongoing projects and those that have just recently launched.

The ministry said that as of January this year, the total length of national and rural roads built in Cambodia using rubber and concrete reached over 15,000 km.

The ministry has been upgrading the quality of their double bituminous surface treatment to asphalt concrete and expanding roads from two lanes to four lanes along some priority routes.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director for Cambodia Kim Pagna said that although the ministry’s goals were not 100 per cent achieved, he thought that the ministry was definitely working hard to deliver new initiatives that the public needed.

“I encourage the ministry as well as other relevant government institutions to take up new initiatives and create opportunities for public awareness and participation by getting feedback from our people to contribute to improving traffic safety,” he added.