Stay off capital-Sihanoukville expressway till October, drivers told

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A bird’s eye view of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway on September 27. MPWT

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has once again called on drivers to stop using the Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk Expressway as the highway has not been officially opened to the public. The scheduled opening date is set for this coming October.

The renewed warning comes after vehicles were seen driving on the highway recently and some people posted pictures of cows crossing the road on social media.

“Please be informed that the expressway is currently not open for use by the public. Please wait until October 1 to use it,” the ministry urged.

Provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche expressed his disappointment with the drivers who were prematurely using the expressway prior to the official opening and the cattle-induced mockery of the project.

“I really do not understand th​e thoughts and actions of the drivers who asked those in charge of the expressway to allow them to use the road but then took pictures of some buffaloes and cows crossing it to post on social media. The pictures were shared by many people who made nasty comments directed at those in charge of the construction,” Dimanche said.

“Some drivers were allowed by those in charge of the construction site to use the road early because Khmer people have a very understanding and agreeable culture. So they were allowed onto the road and then instead of being grateful, they humiliated them,” he said.

He pointed out that the movement of some cattle was allowed by the site managers before they completely closed the gates along the road.

The expressway is constructed by Phnom Penh-based Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd – a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – with supervision by Malaysian firm Minconsult Sdn Bhd, at a cost of just over $2 billion. It stretches over 187km and runs through Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces.

To raise awareness about its use, the ministry and the road’s builders have decided to allow the public to use it free of charge for one month, until November 1.

The ministry has set a speed limit of 120kph, with a minimum permitted speed of 60kph. Slower vehicles will be banned from using the expressway. Trucks carrying shipping containers will be limited to 80kph, while unladen heavy vehicles will be permitted to travel at 100kph. Trucks must keep to the right at all times, unless overtaking.

Motorcycles with a cylinder capacity from 500cc up may use the road. They are limited to 100kph, and no passengers are permitted.

At the same time, the ministry urged the public to adhere to the rules and regulations in order to maintain order and safety, which will prevent accidents on the expressway.

“The ministry and relevant authorities and the expressway operator have the right to refuse to allow any individual, entity or vehicle to use the road and to take legal action in case of non-compliance,” it warned.