The Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is now estimated to be 95 per cent complete and will be open to the public for free for the month of October. Before the road opens, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will run a publicity campaign to explain to road users how the expressway will function.
Speaking to the media during a July 19 inspection tour of the project, transport minister Sun Chanthol said the tasks that remained were predominantly cosmetic or related to safety equipment. Road signs and security cameras needed to be installed, and trees and flowers were being planted.
Chanthol explained that slow moving traffic must keep right, and that there are only six points where drivers can exit the highway.
“There will be no option to turn back. Once you have passed each of the off-ramps, you are committed to driving in the direction of traffic flow until the next exit. It should be clear that attempting to turn around on the expressway would be very dangerous. This is why we will run advertisements explaining this to the public,” he said.
Chanthol added that after October, the private company which built the expressway will begin charging for its use.
Electronic cards will be used to track vehicles on the expressway. Temporary cards will be issued by booths at all entrances. For frequent travellers, permanent cards will be available from the company’s partner banks.
The cards will detect where a vehicle enters and exits the expressway. Temporary card users will hand their card to a toll booth employee, who will swipe it and charge them accordingly. Card owners will be able to exit the road and know that the sensors will automatically charge them, saving them time.
He said the builders of the expressway will charge different rates for different vehicles. For the first year, a standard family car will be charged $24 for a return journey.
The ministry is planning to set a speed limit of 120km/h on the expressway, and cautioned people not to exceed it.
“This is an expressway, so obviously the speed limit will be higher than those of a standard highway. I hope that road users do not exceed the 120 limit. Of course, the road is so smooth that drivers may not realise how quickly they are travelling, so I urge them to watch their speedometers,” he added.
The expressway is 187.05km in length and was begun in March 2019. It connects Samraong Kraom commune’s Village 1 of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district to Village 1 in Commune III of Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville.