PHNOM PENH, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank has approved 110 million U.S. dollars in financing to improve the condition, safety and climate resilience of a key national highway in Cambodia, according to its statement on Friday.
The most direct corridor linking capital Phnom Penh to Cambodia's only deep-sea port in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province, National Road 4 endures heavy traffic through several economic zones and rich agricultural areas including some large-scale farms, the statement said.
It added that through this financing, the more-than-200-km road will be upgraded with an overlay of asphalt concrete, shoulders will be replaced and drains and bridges will be built along flood prone areas.
"Cambodia's economic development relies on National Road 4, as it is the only road connecting the economic center of the country to the deep seaport of Cambodia," Sovicheano Pheng, secretary of state of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said in the statement. "Improvement of this key corridor will reduce travel time and logistic costs, which would help Cambodia's economy to be more competitive in the region."
In addition to introducing innovative road designs that include climate proofing, the financing will upgrade existing weighing stations and reduce the risk of overloading, the statement said.
It added that road safety will be prioritized, through the installation of speed-limit zoning, safety corridors and feeder road improvements that include guide-signs, solar powered lights and speed cameras.
"Infrastructure gaps are a significant barrier to competitiveness and private sector development. Upgrading National Road 4 will address this challenge and broaden economic opportunities for Cambodians," said Inguna Dobraja, the World Bank's country manager for Cambodia.
The new funding comes from the International Development Association, the Bank's fund for the poorest countries, the statement said, adding that it is a credit without interest, with a final maturity of 38 years, including a grace period of six years.