Yangon-Pathein highway upgrade nears completion, new road discussed

A project to upgrade the 113-mile Yangon-Pathein highway is expected to be complete before the end of the current fiscal year in September, said U Win Htay, Ayeyarwady Region Electricity, Energy, Industry and Transportation Minister.

The project, which involves widening the highway to 30 feet from 24ft, began on October 1, 2019 and is now 90 percent complete, he said. Around 6500 vehicles ply the highway on a daily basis and this can swell to 10,000 during travel season.

Once the upgrades are complete, the time taken to commute from Yangon to Pathein in Ayeyarwady Region is expected to be shortened to about three hours from more than five due to poor road conditions.

The Yangon-Pathein highway construction contract was signed on April 1, 2008 between the Tatmadaw and Oriental Highway Company under a 40-year build, operate and transfer arrangement.

Under that agreement, the company was permitted to collect toll on the highway in exchange for maintenance.

In 2018, the highway was temporarily transferred to the government for upgrades utilising funds from the Asian Development Bank and ASEAN Infrastructure Fund. A total of US$360 million in loans were allocated to upgrade three highway projects, including Yangon-Pathein.

In the meantime Myanmar is planning to build a new 100-mile coastal ring road connecting the town of Nga Yote Kaung in Pathein and Nga Thine Chaung in Gwa, Ayeyarwady Region, using foreign loans, U Kyaw Lin, Deputy Minister for Construction, said during the government’s fourth annual performance review on June 26.

“We will invite an Expression of Interest. The Ayeyarwady Region Government and Ministry of Construction will allow local and foreign developers to participate,” he said.

If successfully completed, the road will enable plans to develop a resort and tourist hotspot along the beach as well as on the hillside by the coast.

Investorswill be invited to propose related projects and a government committee will be set up to facilitate the process, U Kyaw Lin said.

The road will also link farmers and livestock breeders living farther inland to the coast.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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