Construction began this week on the Cambodian side of a tolled motorway that will eventually link Phnom Penh with Ho Chi Minh City, China’s People’s Daily reports.
The Cambodian project, which will end at the border town of Bavet, will be built by China Road and Bridge (CRBC), a subsidiary of China Communications, on a public–private partnership basis.
This will entail CRBC providing around $1.6bn to build the road in return for a 50-year concession.
A ceremony was held to mark the beginning of work, attended by Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen and Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian.
Hun Sen said the road would play a “crucial role in boosting Cambodia’s economic growth”. Wang noted that 2023 marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia, and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
He said the motorway was the result of the alignment between the BRI and Cambodia’s development strategy.
The 138km, four-lane road will follow the route of the two-lane National Highway 1 (pictured). Meanwhile, Vietnam will build a motorway between Moc Ba and Ho Chi Minh City to complete the connection.
Both projects are expected to take four years to complete; the Cambodian one is expected to provide employment for some 5,000 local people.