The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $82 million loan to improve about 48 kilometres of national and provincial roads in Prey Veng and Kandal provinces to boost economic development along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Southern Economic Corridor.
According to an ADB’s press release AKP, the new assistance is the second phase of the Road Network Improvement Project series, which aims to strengthen Cambodia’s link with Viet Nam and support the development of cross-border facilities in the two provinces.
The new upgrade will use disaster- and climate-resilient design and help the Ministry of Public Works and Transport better manage roads by reducing vehicle overloading, which often damages roads and leads to premature repairs, it added.
“Road transport is the primary means of moving goods and people in Cambodia and between GMS countries,” said ADB Transport Specialist Mohammad Nazrul Islam. “The project will expand access to education, health, and other public services among local communities, especially poor, rural residents. It will also better connect them to markets and economic opportunities through a more efficient, safe, and climate-resilient road network connecting Cambodia with Viet Nam along the GMS Southern Economic Corridor.”
Cambodia’s economy grew 7.8 percent a year on average from 1998-2019, but suffered a 3.1 percent contraction in 2020 because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The country’s transport sector faces challenges, including insufficient infrastructure investment and sustainability. Most of Cambodia’s rural roads and provincial roads are unpaved, and its national roads have limited capacity.
To address these challenges, the government has developed a national plan to build high-quality, sustainable, and climate-resilient infrastructure that can accommodate the country’s population and employment growth by 2030. The roads under the project are included in the project list of the master plan.
The first phase of the project, which was approved by ADB in 2017, covers 147 kilometres of national roads in the provinces of Prey Veng, Siem Reap, and Svay Rieng along the GMS Southern Economic Corridor.
Under the second phase, the upgrade to the national road will showcase cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly bioengineering techniques, including those for protecting embankment and slopes. The upgrade to the provincial road will pilot an environmentally friendly liquid soil catalyst to help expand the use of locally available materials.
The project also aims to help the Ministry of Public Works and Transport improve road asset management and develop a sustainable road maintenance regime using performance-based road maintenance contracts. It will also raise awareness of road safety and health in project communities.
The road project follows ADB’s country partnership strategy for Cambodia, which aims to help the country improve competitiveness and diversify the economy. The project also builds on ADB’s portfolio of road and railway projects in the country.