In the span of one year, the Chinese-invested Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has emerged as a pivotal player in Cambodia’s development, significantly influencing both tourism and economic growth. Senior officials, including Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol, gathered on Tuesday to commemorate the first anniversary of this transformative infrastructure.
Enhanced travel efficiency
Deputy Prime Minister Chanthol emphasized the expressway’s role in improving travel efficiency, citing its contribution to the reduction of traffic congestion and shortened travel time between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, the international deep-water seaport city. The 187-km freeway, the first of its kind in Cambodia, has become a critical link connecting these two economic powerhouses.
Economic boost through Belt and Road Initiative cooperation
Chanthol highlighted the expressway as a significant achievement within the framework of China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation. He noted that the BRI has not only facilitated infrastructure development but has also spurred economic growth in Cambodia and other participating countries. The Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, operational for the past month, stands as another testament to the fruitful collaboration between Cambodia and China under the BRI.
Mutual benefits and win-win cooperation
According to Chanthol, the BRI has fostered mutual benefits and win-win cooperation, providing substantial support for Cambodia’s infrastructure development. The expressway, invested by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), has played a pivotal role in this collaboration.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Peng Ponea lauded the operational success of the expressway, stating that it has significantly eased travel and goods transport. With 5.19 million vehicles traversing the expressway in its inaugural year, the impact on travel time has been notable. The two lanes in each direction, coupled with an emergency lane, have ensured a swift journey, reducing the travel time from five to two hours compared to National Road 4.
User testimonials further support the expressway’s success. Seng Chien, a 65-year-old user, highlighted the convenience and time-saving aspects, praising the quality of the route and the scenic beauty along the way. Touch Sereyvuth, a 42-year-old user, encouraged others to utilize the expressway, emphasizing the absence of traffic congestion and the resultant cost savings on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
As the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway completes its first year of operations, it stands as a symbol of successful collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative. The infrastructure has not only alleviated travel challenges but has also become a driving force behind Cambodia’s economic growth and tourism development. The positive user experiences underscore the transformative impact of this Chinese-invested project on Cambodia’s connectivity and prosperity.