Phnom Penh (FN), March 3 - The construction of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville highway will kick off on 22 March 2019, to be chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian, according to the Premier's schedule Fresh News received on Sunday.

The construction is carried out by the Chinese firm CAMBODIAN PPSHV EXPRESSWAY CO., LTD., under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved the highway construction project with an investment of $1.8 billion that will create about 10,000 jobs, according to CDC's Facebook page.

According to Sihanoukville governor Yun Min, the project will be time-efficient for people to travel and goods transported.

"We will just need to spend two and a half hours to reach Sihanoukville,” he stressed, while at the present day, travel from the capital to the port city usually takes 4-6 hours or even more during holidays.

The project is a vital initiative of the Royal Government to improve local infrastructure and connectivity with neighboring countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, said Cambodian minister of transport Sun Chanthol.

The plan is to build a four-lane, 190 km road, which will be 50 km shorter compared to the current 230 km two-lane National Road (NR) 4. The new highway will run alongside NR 4, and that the existing way will serve as an alternate route, he added.

It is worth noting that Cambodian minister of transport signed an agreement with Chairman of China Communications Construction Company, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on 11 January 2018.