Sihanoukville to begin road project

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The government is to embark on an eight-month scheme to improve Sihanoukville’s infrastructure with 34 streets being rebuilt at a cost of some $200 million. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORT

The government will spend $200 million to improve Sihanoukville’s infrastructure. The eight-month project will involve the rebuilding of 34 streets with a total of more than 84km.

Pal Chandara, the secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on Wednesday that the government had sufficient funds and teams would soon begin implementing the project step by step.

“We have enough funds but we are just waiting for the right time to begin the work as we want to ensure we rebuild the streets effectively and efficiently. It won’t be delayed for too long. Technical officers from relevant ministries are cooperating with provincial authorities on the project.

“We are rebuilding the streets in Sihanoukville because we want it to be a modern city. We have over $200 million, and technical teams will work to renovate the infrastructure,” he said.

Chandara said the streets would be rebuilt with 25cm-deep concrete and paved with 7cm of asphalt.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum said the work to reconstruct the 34 streets, with a total length of 84,505m, would be completed in about eight months.

“We are rebuilding the roads following the provincial master plan, with parks and pedestrian walkways. There will be some inconvenience to the public but we will try to cause as little disruption as possible. The road rebuilding will start in November,” he said.

Phearum said initial estimates made at the first meeting to discuss funding put the total cost much higher than $200 million. However, after a second meeting, it was realised that those estimates were inflated and the budget required would not be as high as feared.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol gave further details on Friday at an event to promote the Road Care Mobile App – which allows people to report problems with the country’s roads directly to the ministry.

“We will install drainage pipes, electrical cables, telephone cables, clean water systems and street lighting. All the work will be carried out in one package to avoid complaints from citizens about unnecessary disruption. Sihanoukville will become the first place in Cambodia to implement a plan like this,” he said.

On September 4, Prime Minister Hun Sen approved a $100 million budget for the renovation of Sihanoukville’s infrastructure.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said at the time that hundreds of millions of dollars more were needed for Sihanoukville’s infrastructure development to turn it into a “pearl city” and top tourist attraction.

Rights group Adhoc’s provincial coordinator Cheap Sotheary backed the redevelopment project. “I support the provincial administration’s plan to widen the roads according to the provincial master plan. Certainly, this will affect the properties of some people living on pavements, but some of them have expanded their homes.

“They are on the pavements to conduct business, which is why traffic jams are so common today,” she said.