Construction work for the first stage of the National Road 5 Improvement Project, from Battambang province to Banteay Meanchey province, is now 80 percent complete since work started in March 2018, according to a Public Works and Transport Ministry report.
At present, the work has been progressing and the road contractor company is working on the second layer of asphalt-concrete tarmac and some parts. Some stretches of road have been put into operation temporarily.
The newly renovated road will not only reduce travel time for people, but will speed up the transportation of agricultural products such as rice, paddy, vegetables and fruits, among other goods.
The National Road 5 renovation project, called the Adean Highway, stretches 366 kilometres from Kandal to Banteay Meanchey province.
The project was granted a concessional loan from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It has three main parts, the northern part, central and the south. The road innovation project is being widened to four lanes and is 23 metres wide.
The project is aimed at increasing transportation capacity as well as to improve the logistics efficiency in the section between Prek Kdam and Thlea Ma’am Section along the National Road No 5 that connects Phnom Penh Capital and the Thai border, by improving the condition of the existing road and constructing a new bypass in Kampong Chhnang and Oudong, thereby contributing to the economic development of Cambodia.
The Northern section – Battambang to Banteay Meanchey, measuring about 84 kilometres, began construction in March 2018 and is now 80 percent complete. However, the central parts from Thlea Ma’am Section from Pursat to Battambang province, with a length of 146km, has only achieved 15 percent completion and from Kandal’s Prek Kdam to Thlea Ma’am of Pursat province, a stretch of 13km, is only 24 percent completed.
Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the construction work is ongoing from all of the parties, including workers, road technical road consultants and contractors, but must be aligned with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, to protect against the spread of Coronavirus.
In Cambodia, there are three main prioritised national roads, National Road 1, 4 and 5. National road 5 has provided huge opportunities for Cambodia’s trade and economy with neighbouring country Thailand and other international markets, said Va Simsorya, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.
“National Road 5 passes through many provinces with high populations, along with the agriculture zones and its proximity to the river. Thus, this road has potential,” Simsorya said.
“Our National road 5 will be highly competitive to compete with the East West Economic Corridor in ASEAN, from Vietnam to Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, and to connect Myanmar ports and logistics hubs,” he added.
Thailand is one of the biggest trade and economic partners in the ASEAN and Great Mekong Sub-region. There are many advantages for Cambodia because investors are looking towards Cambodia, said Simsorya.
He told Khmer Times that the project is due to finish by the end of 2021. However, since there is an issue with COVID-19, the project leader told him that this project might be completed by early 2022.
The reason is because the impact of the pandemic means that there is a shortage of labour and technical teams .This road will serve as the main export route for Cambodia and Thailand and other ASEAN countries.
From January to March 2020, Cambodia imported $1,891 million worth of goods from Thailand,
a 17 percent year-on-year rise, according to official data from Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce. The data shows that the bilateral trade between the Kingdoms grew by 31 percent to $2,503 million.
The increased amount of bilateral trade between the countries reflects the good relations between the two nations, particularly government-to-government, said Seang Thay, a spokesman at Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce.
“The relationship between the governments of the two countries, particularly between the two ministries of commerce, has seen strong cooperation that has pushed the value of trade… and we agreed to promote the bilateral trade to further increase it,” Thay told Khmer Times in a previous interview.
Agricultural products accounted for the majority of Cambodian exports to Thailand, while Thai exports to the Kingdom of Cambodia primarily consisted of energy resources, agriculture fertiliser, cement, food supplies and cosmetics.