Cambodia and China broke ground on a new expressway on Wednesday that will connect the capital, Phnom Penh, with the border town of Bavet. The 135.1-kilometer expressway is being developed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) at a cost of $1.3 billion. It is expected to be completed in four years.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the expressway would boost economic growth and tourism in the region. He also thanked China for its investment in Cambodia.
“The Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway is another fruit of cooperation between Cambodia and China under the Belt and Road Initiative,” Hun Sen said. “This expressway will give a boost to the growth of investment, trade, tourism and cross-border transportation between Cambodia and Vietnam.”
The Belt and Road Initiative is a Chinese-led global infrastructure development program. Cambodia is one of the countries that has benefited from the initiative.
The CRBC is also the developer of the 187-kilometer Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which was put into use last October.
The new expressway is expected to reduce travel time between Phnom Penh and Bavet from three hours to one hour. It is also expected to increase trade between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The expressway is part of Cambodia’s efforts to improve its transportation infrastructure. The country is also planning to build a new airport in Phnom Penh and a high-speed rail line between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
These projects are expected to boost Cambodia’s economy and attract more tourists to the country.