Korea-Myanmar group proposes $620m Yangon expressway

Two companies from Korea and a Myanmar conglomerate have submitted a joint proposal to the Ministry of Construction to build an expressway from Yangon to Bago.

Capital Diamond Star Group (CDSG) hopes to work with South Korea’s Lotte E&C and Halla Corporation to build the road, which would link Yangon to a new international airport at Hanthawaddy.

The companies have submitted a joint proposal to the Ministry of Construction, and announced the project via the website of the President’s Office.

CDSG, which built flyovers at Shwegonedaing and Myaynigone junctions, and is working on another at Kokkine junction on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, did not respond to requests for comment.

If approved, the 20.5-kilometre, four-lane Yangon Urban Expressway Development Project would run from Bogyoke Aung San Road and Yay Kyaw junction in downtown Yangon, to Mingalardon Garden to the north of the city.

The first phase would cost US$620 million, according to the proposal. A second stage would extend the road to Bago and the new airport.

As part of its 2040 master plan for Yangon, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has proposed building two ring-roads around the city. The Urban Expressway Development Project would join with the inner ring road.

If the project goes ahead, it would be a toll-road, with three collection points, each charging US$1. Construction would take five years or less from the date of approval, according to the proposal. The government would need to put up 20 percent of the capital, via an official development assistance low-interest loan, it said.

A consortium led by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation lost out on a $1.4 billion deal to build the Hanthawaddy airport last year, with the contract given instead to Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings, Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japan’s JGC Corporation.

The airport will be built on a 9000-acre (3642-hectare) site in Bago Region, around 77 kilometres (48 miles) northeast of Yangon.

It was first imagined in the early 1990s but put on hold in 2004. When discussions resumed in 2013, officials targeted a 2016 opening but the date has repeatedly been pushed back and has now been delayed until 2022 due to “financing issues” according to state media.

It has been criticised for its distance from downtown Yangon and a lack of connecting infrastructure to the city. However, despite missing out on the airport deal, South Korea has been forthcoming in proposals to help fill this gap.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency told The Myanmar Times in August it had signed with the Ministry of Construction to prepare a feasibility study “to develop the corridor between Yangon and Hanthawaddy, including industrial and residential zones and supporting infrastructure”.

U Toe Aung, director of the Urban Planning department at Yangon City Development Committee said the city desperately needs “long interchange roads to be built as soon as possible. Not only an expressway, but new roads downtown – our department frequently makes this case to the government.”

“But building new projects creates even more congestion, so we need to work out how to do it without exacerbating the current situation,” he said.

Yangon’s first interchanges were built in 2013 and the city now boasts four, with four more under construction.

Source: Myanmar Times

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